Image 1: Castlefinn

Image 2: Castlefinn, from Ashmead 1884

Image 3 depicts James Rawle's Castlefinn property in 1881. Though there were a number of buildings drawn on the map, the pink figure to the right of "80 A." represents the main house, built from stone. As one might expect, his eighty-acre parcel of land had several houses and structures for various purposes. The color pink denotes brick or stone structures, and yellow shows frame constructions (an "x" marks a barn or stable). Roberts Road ran above Castlefinn, while Bryn Mawr Avenue ran below.

Unfortunately, this series of real estate atlases for the Main Line area begins with the 1881 atlas. This is unfortunate because Castlefinn appears on the 1881 atlas, thus narrowing down its date of construction becomes difficult. A deed acquired in Media, however, helps in establishing a date of construction. A deed from 1956 (1487-547) references a previous deed from 1873 (M3, 93) where a Charlotte C. Parker ("now Charlotte C. Rawle," it notes) received twenty-five thousand dollars in property in Radnor. She received the property through the trustees Dr. Edward Peace and Dr. James Logan. J.W. Townsend reveals the relationship between Charlotte and Edward Peace in his 1922 "The Old 'Main Line'", for he cites that "Dr. Peace's step-daughter, Charlotte Parker, a popular girl, married Jim Rawle [...]" (Townsend 15). The 1956 deed later discloses a portion of her will where she gives her "'Castlefinn' property" to her husband, James Rawle. The 1881 atlas shows James Rawle as the owner of the Castlefinn estate. Therefore, Castlefinn was likely constructed between 1873 and 1881.

The 1880 census cites a James Rawle in Radnor. Rawle, 36, was married to Charlotte, 31. The census lists his profession as "Car Builder." Townsend cites James as being the president of the Brill Car Company (Townsend 17). City Directories from the time period, however, do not list Rawle as living in the city. James and Charlotte had four kids, Francis W. (age six), Edward P. (age four), Edith (age 2), and Louisa, who was not quite one year old. Castlefinn had five servants and a boarder. With such a large staff and family, Castlefinn was likely constructed by 1880, the year of the census.

Image 3: 1881 Real Estate Map

Image 4, a real estate atlas from 1887, shows little change to the Rawle estate. While one cannot easily judge changes in Castlefinn, in a comparison of the 1881 and 1887 real estate atlases, the house does appear to change structurally. A wing appears to extend along the side of the house that faces Roberts Road, while an extension seems to extend from the front of the house for unloading carriages (the 1880 census notes a coachman among the servants).

Image 4: 1887 Real Estate Map

Image 5 shows a real estate atlas from 1896. This atlas depicts little change on the Castlefinn property. Three insubstantial structures appears to have been constructed along Rawle's Run. The house itself, however, looks unchanged and sat on eighty-one acres of land.

Image 5: 1896 Real Estate Map

Image 6 shows a real estate map from 1900. Rawle acquired seven acres of land between 1896 and 1900, as he came to own a property on the other side of Bryn Mawr Ave and one along Roberts Road (which belonged to W. Rawle in the 1881 atlas). A new frame stable, the yellow figure with an "x", appears across from Castlefinn, though no other changes occured.

The 1900 census shows that the Rawle family, James, Charlotte and their four children, still lived on the Castlefinn Estate. Francis W. worked as a lawyer, and Edward P. as a clerk. The Rawles had only three servants in 1900, though this figure likely misleads. Residents in the next two houses worked as coachmen (and an assistant coachman) and farmers. It seems likely that James set his coachmen up in a separate house on the property that census recorders surveyed. Also, the 1900 census reveals that the property was used for farming, thus the farmers on the census probably tended to Rawle's land. If true, Rawle actually had twelve servants. In addition, a brief note in a computer profile at the Board Assessments in Media regarding this property lists a valuation from 1900 at $11,300.

Image 6: 1900 Real Estate Map

Image 7 depicts a real estate atlas from 1908. The property lost ten acres between 1900 and 1908, as it seems Charlotte had taken her own portion of land along Roberts Road. The deed from 1956 notes that Charlotte devised her will in 1905 and died in 1909. Her moving to a separate house, and the noting James and Francis as "Trustees" for her suggests that she had fallen ill and the family had been preparing for such an event; both by giving her a separate space and readying the property for division among the family. In addition, a small wooden frame building appears on the estate (one can see this structure under the last "n" in "Castlefinn").

The 1900 census shows that Edward and Francis had moved out of Castlefinn, though Edith and Louisa remained. Together the three Rawles had seven servants.

Image 7: 1908 Real Estate Map

Image 8, a real estate atlas from 1913, shows great change around the Castlefinn Estate. The 1956 deed cites James death on May 1st, 1912. This deed includes a portion of James' will, where he leaves his estate to his son Edward Peace Rawle. One can become too caught up in the property divisions at this point in the history of the Castlefinn Estate, so it is important to focus on the property that Castlefinn stood on. As the original Castlefinn estate divided among the children, with Francis, Edith, and Louisa all receiving their own houses and properties, the estate that Edward remained on fell to a size of fifty-three acres (twenty-five acres smaller than in 1908). The only change in structures on the property came with the addition of a brick or stone house at the property's entrance along Bryn Mawr Ave.

Image 8: 1913 Real Estate Map

A 1915 Boyd's City Directory lists Edward P. Rawle as keeping a house at 64th and City Ave. in addition to noting his being treasurer of the J.G. Brill Co.

Image 9, a real estate atlas from 1920, shows only one change in the property. The change comes in acreage, as the Castlefinn Estate fell by thirteen acres to a total of forty. Property boundaries for Castlefinn appear to have remained the same, however, so any changes likely came through a reassessment of the land. While a census exists for 1920, it does not supply a record for Edward Rawle in Delaware County. Seeing as the atlases show his presence at Castlefinn during this time, and the 1930 census shows him in Radnor, an error likely exists with the 1920 census.

The 1930 census shows Edward P., with a wife, Florence, who was fifty-three. Together they had a twenty-one year old son, James 2nd, who worked as a broker. According to the census, Edward worked as a treasurer for the Brill Co. The Rawles had four servants at the time. The census also includes a valuation of the property at $125,000.

Image 9: 1920 Real Estate Map

Image 10 shows a real estate atlas from 1961. While atlases exist for 1926, 1937, and 1948, they do not show any changes from the 1920 atlas. The 1956 deed cites Edward P.'s death on July 26th, 1942. His name, however, appears on the property on the 1948 atlas. The same deed includes James' will, in which he stated that James 2nd, Edward's son, would receive the property.

When comparing the 1920 and 1961 atlases, one can see that the area around Castlefinn had been divided into many smaller properties. This took place between 1948 and 1961, as 1948 showed that the property had remained unchanged since 1920. Taking into consideration the size of Castlefinn and its location along Castlefinn Road (once the path that ran to the house), one can see that it was probably not standing in 1961.

A deed from February 29th, 1956 (1811-110) makes note of the transfer of a property from James Rawle 2nd to Edward Starr 3rd. The property only sells for $4,700, however, and wherever the word "building" appears in deed it has been crossed out. Looking at the 1961 atlas, it looks as if Rawle must have subdivided his property and sold the subdivisions off. Castlefinn would have stood in the same area as these empty subdivisions, thus it seems as if it had been town down prior to the 1956 deed.

Image 10: 1961 Real Estate Map



Ashmead, Graham. History of Delaware County. Philadelphia: L.H. Evans & Co., 1884.

Above book found online at

Hotchkin, Rev. S.F. Rural Pennsylvania: In the Vicinity of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: George Jacobs & Co., 1897.

King, Moses. Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians. New York: Moses King, Publisher, 1902.

Townsend, J.W. The Old "Main Line". 1922.

Wilson Brothers & Co.: Civil Engineers, Architects, and Consulting Engineers. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1885.

Architectural Work of Wilson Bros. & Co. Philadelphia: Drexel Building, 1897.

Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide , v. 19, n. 19, p. 291, 5/11/1904

Above citation taken from Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project

Real Estate Atlases taken from Lower Merion Historical Society

Delaware County Deeds found at Media Courthouse

Census data found at Mid Atlantic Regional Archives

Places in Time

Philadelphia City Directories are available at Haverford College Special Collections

Image 1:

Image 2:, taken from Hotchkin

Additional Real Estate Atlases available at

Image 1:


Last revised on 16 December 2005, MG Feedback