All photos courtesy of George W. Pyle, Jr. Today’s photos are from 1991.
Late yesterday, almost like the perfect birthday present, George W. Pyle, Jr. sent me more photos of my favorite old lady, Loch Aerie/Lockwood Mansion. The photos came with a note:
These photos were taken in 1991. My family and I were back visiting relatives and I saw some people standing out in front of the house so I took a chance and drove in to speak with them. The person living there with his family at the time was Anthony Alden. Mr. Alden was an architect. He allowed me to walk around the property and take pictures. I have 23 photo total.
Anthony (“Tony”) Alden is an architectural curator who loved Loch Aerie and put buckets of his own money into her from around 1980 until the mid 2000s when he moved out. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2016:
In 1980, architectural curator Anthony Alden moved into a Loch Aerie with boarded-up windows and no heat. He sank thousands into its restoration, hoping to buy it from the Tabases. Alden called it an “undertaking of love” but was unable to reach an agreement with the Tabas family. He moved out in the mid-2000s.
Before he left, Alden joined with a group of residents, environmentalists, and historical commission members who fought to keep Home Depot at bay when it bought land next door to build a store in the mid-1990s. The historical commission negotiated to minimize the impact to the house, Caban said. But its gas works were removed, and the pond and much of its grounds were paved over.
These photos are truly amazing to see and they show Loch Aerie BEFORE Home Depot when the beautiful old fountain still worked and the pond existed. Remnants of the original Lockwood Gardens still existed.
After looking at the photos, and knowing the history which includes two fires (one believed to have been started by vagrants), it is truly a testament to how she was built and her architect Addison Hutton that she survived.
If you drive by Loch Aerie, as I do weekly, you will notice work is progressing nicely. The lovely new owners had hoped to be opened by this spring, but if you have ever lived through an old house restoration or an adaptive reuse, you will know that it takes it’s own time. I am so grateful to the Poirier family for taking on the restoration. It makes me so happy every time I drive by!
George Pyle sent me more photos. This morning I have lined up his 1963 photos with my more recent vintage photos taken over the past couple of years.
I do not know what of the ornate plaster work will survive the adaptive reuse in progress, but I imagine what can be saved, will be. It was so badly deteriorated in spots, and in other spots just plain missing.
But it is so cool to see the rooms as they once were. Add to that the juxtaposition in time of when my photos were taken, decades later – 53 years later give or take.
Loch Aerie, 1963. Photo courtesy of George W. Pyle, Jr.
I received a note form this nice man asking if I wanted to see photos he took in 1963 of Loch Aerie in Malvern/Frazer (I say Frazer, but others say Malvern.)
Loch Aerie, 1963. Photo courtesy of George W. Pyle, Jr.
He lived here when he was young and his name is George W. Pyle, Jr.
This is what he had to say about the photos, some of which he sent overnight:
My personal copy of the book – affordable and easily found on Amazon
These and all of the photos to follow were taken by me around 1963. I found the Loch Aerie Mansion, LLC Facebook page. It is quite interesting. I saw a picture of the new owner (?) with Eugene DiOrio. Mr. DiOrio has a very nice section on Loch Aerie in his book, “Chester County. A Travler’s Album” I believe that book is out of print but I was able to find an excellent copy, #51, signed by Mr. DiOrio, in 1991 at Baldwin’s Book Barn.
The first picture is a higher quality image of the one you already have. The stairs were not carpeted. There were area rugs in the entry way but bare floors on either side of the staircase. Against the wall on the left was a large and heavy mirrored hat and coat rack with holders for canes or umbrellas on either side of a bench seat.
The second picture was taken standing about halfway up the stairs. On the right side are the bell chimes that were used to call the upstairs or downstairs maid or housekeeper. There is a note safety pinned to the back of the chair on the left. There was a ribbon stretched across the arms at one time. The note said the chair was valuable and shouldn’t be used.
Outside the front door was a mat that had a couple pair of large men’s boots on them. Mrs. Reilly said they put them there to give the impression that men were there and not just two older women.
Loch Aerie, 1963. Photo courtesy of George W. Pyle, Jr.
Loch Aerie, 1963. Photo courtesy of George W. Pyle, Jr.
Mr. Pyle also tells me that in the photos, the dark spots are artifacts on the negatives from development. The last two photos are one of his and one of mine. Just to show everyone what time and neglect causes. Mr. Pyle’s photo was 1963. Mine was 2016 from a similar angle.
I will post any others he might send. Thanks for stopping by!
Loch Aerie, 1963. Photo courtesy of George W. Pyle, Jr.
I know, I must be pretty boring since I am stuck on this old mansion. But I can’t help it. i love Loch Aerie. Or Glen Loch. Or Lockwood Mansion depending on what you know her as.
I went through today with a writer I know and a writer and historian. We explored Loch Aerie again, listening to tales people had to tell. There were people there today who had been in the house over the years.
Among the first people I spoke with was a gentleman whose brother was the motorcycle gang member who was shot on the front porch. Apparently the brother had rented Loch Aerie along with a woman described as a “Campbell Soup Heiress”. The woman’s last name wasn’t Dorrance, however. And no, I can’t remember what her name was. IN fact I found out she wasn’t an heiress per se but her father was an Executive VP of Campbell Soup.
I saw the marks in the floor today a motorcycle had left.
Then there was the very much older lady who counted all the little steps up to the top of the cupola. I spent some time up in the cupola today myself. The views are amazing.
There were people who had lived or grown up near by, people who were just curious and a lot of people interested in the property looking Loch Aerie over. Truthfully the house was packed the entire time.
I smiled quite a few times because I overheard people saying they had come to see Loch Aerie because they had seen it on this blog.
April 21st is the auction. I hope the right buyer finds her in time. This really is a truly remarkable piece of American Architecture. Today I noticed details I did not notice last week.
And for all of those people who say “but it is next to the Home Depot” when you are inside, you forget. Everything else just melts away and there you are in this spectacular mansion of a bygone era. And I was pleased to learn from a volunteer from the Chester County Historical Society that there are a bunch of photos at the Historical Society of Loch Aerie when the Lockwood Family lived there. I am thinking a field trip might be in order.
The auction people are very nice and gracious, but you do have to stop at their registration table and fill out a form so they know who is in the house. It’s no big deal, but it is an old house. Wear sturdy shoes or good sneakers, this is an old house with many rooms and floors and stairs.
La Ronda was an amazing example of Addison Mizner’s work and was at that time (2009) one of the last remaining examples if not the last example in this area. His mansions used to dot the East Coast up through New York State if I remember correctly. And in the end with La Ronda even the seller and owner were at odds over salvage rights.
La Ronda was an amazing property. I was lucky to be able to photograph her from outside her gates before she fell. I was there like like dozens of others on demolition day. I took photos as tears ran down my face at the sheer waste of something so amazing. Even local commissioner were there and crying. It was awful . It was a house that was beloved by her former community, just like Loch Aerie is today. And just as symbolic and recognizable which is why people sometimes call Loch Aerie Chester County’s La Ronda.
The clock is ticking but not all is lost. Loch Aerie just needs a preservation buyer and not a developer who is land greedy who will buy her for the 6 acres in total she comes with and let her rot as opposed as to just lie fallow with a caretaker in residence.
Loch Aerie has stood there on her hill and watched Chester County change. This mansion has survived Home Depot being built, turnpike and other highway expansions, motorcycle gangs and general ignorance.
Addison Hutton is one of the finest architects that ever worked or lived in Philadelphia. Loch Aerie is fanciful and lyrical in her Swiss Gothic style. Her original gardens were designed by Charles P. Miller, the landscape architect who designed Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. The gardens are all but gone and the difference between this spring and some other springs I have seen Loch Aerie go through seems to be that some of the last remaining foundation plantings are but memories.
I will note that East Whiteland Historical Commission has a meeting tomorrow evening – 4/6/2016 from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Supposedly they will be discussing Loch Aerie although no agenda is posted as per usual. they also never seem to post any meeting minutes. So I can’t tell you what they are doing but they certainly have not gotten out in front of this. Or if they have it’s a secret they keep from everyone.
We can’t save every old house, barn, mansion, structure but we should save some, right? The crime here is just like with the Old Conestoga Inn in Tredyffrin, the Strawbridge House next to the boat place on 30 in Malvern, or Linden Hall on Route 30 in Malvern at the base of 352 and countless other structures all over, there is nothing legally keeping any of them from being torn down. The drawback to living in Pennsylvania, which is a heavy private property rights state (which of course given the eminent domain for private gain all over the state for decades is somewhat contrary in and of itself.)
But the thing is this: Pennsylvania needs more meaningful historic preservation. And there need to be more financial incentives available to preservation buyers. Other states in this country have them.
Communities around Pennsylvania desperately need balance and even protections from development. What defined a suburb and exurb in the past may no longer fit and how does historic preservation in communities fit in? The truth is historic preservation is more of a nice option in Pennsylvania rather than the occasional requirement.
Sorry, don’t mean to put you to sleep, but I feel quite passionately about preserving our open spaces and history.
Loch Aerie is a symbol to us. A symbol of the rich history and past, homage to a time gone by, an example of legendary architecture which has withstood the test of time and is still so beautiful. And Loch Aerie could be a private home again, or an adaptive reuse. It would be a fabulous boutique hotel and there is a need. I could see a small hotel with a chic restaurant on the first floor.
Even artists have been captivated by Loch Aerie over time. In a garage sale group I bought a print done by Chester County artist named Christopher Schultz. Schultz used to present the land and wildlife of the Brandywine Valley in his watercolors and prints of his watercolors. What I got was Loch Aerie. Apparently the print was popular 15 to 20 years ago. I have never seen anything else by this artist, and I bought this print because it was of Loch Aerie. Not terribly valuable but pretty and spoke to me because of the subject matter.
Loch Aerie speaks to me as she does to so many of you. She needs a preservation buyer. She deserves to be saved. But someone has to want to and be able to afford to do it. Here is hoping and praying that somewhere preservation buyers are thinking about this. It would be criminal for Pennsylvania to lose this treasure.
I went all the way up to the top of the house to the cupola and the widow’s walk, and down to the somewhat creepy root cellar. It is truly an amazing house and considering all the abuse it is taken over the past few decades, it is in remarkably decent shape.
I took hundreds of photos and also talked to people going through. Some were local people who read this blog and had seen me discuss the mansion, also a lot of regular people who like myself just always wanted to see the inside, and quite a few people that actually seemed interested in preserving the mansion. There were also developers and developer representatives and lots and lots of contractors.
I met a woman from far away with a big family that includes a lot of adopted children and grandchildren who is looking for a place to call home.
I also met a guy who grew up near the mansion and told me stories of when he and his siblings were little. He told me how they saw the bikers drive up to the house when they were squatting in the mansion in the 1970s I think it was. He also said that the bikers would ride their motorcycles up the front steps and up the staircase. And that kind of makes sense because there are marks and some of the floors upstairs that look like tires. He also told me of when the bikers had left and the kids in East Whiteland used to use the pool tables and pinball machines that were on the first floor.
Another lady wrote to me and said:
As a young boy my father, now deceased, worked making sandwiches at the Lockwood Mansion. Two elderly sisters employed my father. One of their relatives, Leaugeay, helped my father make sandwiches which were taken to the train station nearby for the soldiers. As the years gone by, my father married and named my sister, Leaugeay as a namesake of a family who helped dad. Growing up on Morstein as a young girl our large clan passed by the mansion many a Sunday on our visits to other family members. Really hate seeing another landmark in Chester County being replaced by commercial buildings. WHAT is going to be left for OUR GRANDCHILDREN to visualize HISTORICAL LANDMARKS……..What a shame that opportunity and money pass over our History.
I was amazed at how few people actually knew any of the history of the house they were just drawn to it. It really is a landmark. And an emotional pull back to the area for others.
Someone from East Whiteland Historical Commission was there. A woman whose name escapes me. I don’t think she was particularly thrilled to meet her friendly neighborhood Chester County blogger, and I’m sorry for that but I am not sorry for my opinions necessarily. She said they were meeting next week, but to what end? Do they have a preservation buyer with deep pockets to bid on Loch Aerie come April 21st? When I asked her about Linden Hall, she assured me it would be preserved but that old porches not historically authentic would be torn off. I told her Linden Hall already looked like demolition by neglect, but she assured me I am wrong so we shall see. I hope I am wrong.
If this beloved mansion Loch Aerie can find the right buyer future generations will be talking about her in years to come.
Here is an article from 2010 about Addison Hutton:
What a perfect fit for a historic architect: designing the building for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at 1300 Locust St. in Philadelphia in 1902.
Known by many as the Quaker architect, Addison Hutton was a popular and prolific professional who designed palaces on the Main Line and in surrounding communities, and grand college buildings on campuses including Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore colleges and Lehigh University, as well as adding his talents to the designs of courthouses, museums, libraries and religious institutions.
Many of his most famous Main Line mansions have served double purposes. The Waverly Heights home of a railroad executive is now an upscale retirement community in Gladwyne. Ballytore in Wynnewood first served as a home to the co-founder of the Strawbridge & Clothier department store, then lived its second life as the home of a private school and is now in its third life as an Armenian church.
Hutton also used his talents for designing religious sites. In 1872 he designed the rectory for the Church of the Redeemer on Pennswood Road in Bryn Mawr. The original portion of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood was built in 1871 with Hutton and fellow architect Samuel Sloan designing the building where the preparatory college and theology divisions were joined in September 1871….
The Main Line Times article is quite long and well worth reading in it’s entirety.
Addison Hutton is a favorite architect of mine and his work can also be seen in Bryn Mawr on Shipley’s campus – the landmark mansion known as Beechwood. I know that Addison Hutton mansions can be saved and repurposed as adaptive reuses because I was on the Committee to Save Beechwood. And while Shipley basks in all the glory of this successful old house rescue, it was a committee independent from the school who save it, not the school. The headmaster (who is still there today) wanted to tear Beechwood down for a parking lot or a pool (I forget which.) Here is an article from when it began (the renovation was complete around 2002):
That’s the word from the Shipley School, which recently relented on its controversial plan to demolish a 19th-century building on its campus after a prolonged battle with local historic preservationists.
Yesterday, the school welcomed several architectural firms into the aging Beechwood House and asked them to pitch their best ideas for how to renovate its rooms for school use.
However, the school did not ask the architects to pitch their bills for the work to Shipley’s accountants. Someone else will be paying for the renovations.
As agreed in negotiations with the school, a group of Shipley alumni, preservationists and others who want to save the building have the job of raising the necessary money – possibly as much as $1 million – by Jan. 1, 2001. If they fail, Shipley reserves the right to tear Beechwood down.
But if the group can leap that hurdle, school officials are ready to make good use of the old building.
Frens and Frens were the Philadelphia architecture firm which did the restoration of Beechwood. They won numerous awards as a result. Another Addison Hutton home, also in Bryn Mawr on the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Bryn Mawr Avenue is another more recent and successful adaptive reuse. It was restored and converted to a handful of luxury condominiums.
The estate was formerly a Welsh tract of 500 acres, and the title deeds say it vas held on a lease from W. Penn to Peter Young and from Peter Young to Hugh Roberts , of
whom President George 3. Roberts of the Penna. PR, is a lineal descendant. The tract has been subdivided and has been in the possession of General Persifor Frazer
of the Revolution and also of the family of ?. Frazer Smith. The purchase of the estate was made by Elon Dunbar, Mr. W. 2. Lockwood’s step-father, from estate of
William Harmer, in I8U9, and Mr. Lockwood from Mr. Dunbar in April 1863. When Mr. Dunbar purchased there was 113 acres. Mr. Lockwood has been making purchases
adjoining the original tract at different times and from 136 acres it has increased to 680 acres.
And it had quite the famous landscape architect:
Loch Aerie was designed by architect Addison Hutton in
1865 for William E. Lockwood, who made his fortune manufacturing
paper collars and folding boxes, and lost much of it promoting local railroads. The house remains with few changes. The fine landscape was designed by landscape architect Charles P. Miller.
Mr. Lockwood began to pay some attention to live stock in i868,when he purchased tventy five head of Ayrshires, but about that time he was elected president of the Union Paper
Collar Co. and had to reside in Sew York for ten years. He was thus forced to relinguish the raising of stock, but he secured the services of competent farmers who
attended to what stock he required for domestic purposes. Mr. Lockwood intends to divide his tract into three small farms, consisting of the property south of the
Penna RR and will include twelve acres of woodland,, which will be kept to preserve thewater supply. Pour hundred acres north of the Penna RR will be retained as the
homestead farms of two hundred acres each. On the western most tract is St. Pauls Episcopal Church erected in 1828 by the Rev. Dr. Levi Bull and which was improved in
1874 at an expense of $8000. A fine parsonage will be erected during the coming summer.
And these last excerpts:
2. “Daily Local News,” West Chester, Pennsylvania, October 19, 1877
Wm. E. Lockwood, of Glenlock, has a telephone in his house also one in the P.R.R. tower so that in case of invasion of his domicile by burglars or tramps he can call the P.R.R. hands to his assistance. The Railroad Company also keep a police car on the siding there to lock up all loafers and tramps found in the vicinity. Mr. Lockwood also has a very complete “burglar. alarm»”which connects with every door and window in his house, and borrows his neighbors “bull dogs” for outside alarm at night. Also he has a formidable array of repeating revolving and breech-loading pistols and rifles and we understand he thinks of adding a gattling gun and jackass howitzer, and yet he retires to his little bed very uneasy as to his safety during the night.
We should think the tramp would give his place a wide berth in their travels but through his influence they are gobbled up at the rate of a dozen per night in and
3. “Daily Local News,” West Chester, Pennsylvania, May 1, 1936
One of the most interesting houses in the Chester Valley is that of the late William E. Lockwood, at Glen Loch. It was built in the year 1865, with its towers and bull’s-eye windows. William A. Stephenson, late of West Bernard street, West Chester, was the boss stone mason, and the walls were well built. The architect was Addison Hutton, who, five years later, designed the first building for what is now State Teachers College. Mr. Hutton, as the story goes, was on his way to Glen Loch in response to a summons from Mr. Lockwood to consult with him in regard to the plans, when he was told that Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, had been shot.
All the people were so shocked and horrified that there was no talk about house plans that day, and the dwelling was not erected until some months later. One of the art
treasures in the home today is a painting of George Washington on horseback – a handsome piece of work which once was loaned to the late John Wanamaker, long ago, to be exhibited in his Market street window.
People, we need to save the grande dame. #ThisPlaceMatters and she needs a preservation/adaptive reuse buyer. Not just some developer who wants the other 4 acre parcel that goes with the house and the 2 acres it sits on. Loch Aerie has so much potential still. I can totally see a boutique hotel with a marvelous little restaurant on the first floor.