Wentworth

Image 1: Wentworth

Image 2: Wentworth, from Ashmead 1884

Image 3 shows the Wentworth estate, which Edward H. Williams lived on. Along with forty-four acres of land, Williams possessed four buildings. The yellow structures represent frame buildings while the pink figure depicts a stone or brick building. As we discover with an 1887 real estate map, the house "Wentworth" does not appear on the estate until after 1881. Williams may have been a recent arrival to the Main Line because he has not built his main house, and also because he does not appear in the 1880 census. The Places in Time website, which is linked under "Sources" below, notes that Williams, originally from Vermont, married Cornerlia Bailey Pratt in 1848.

The Wilson Brothers' book from 1885 cites the construction of a residence for Edward H. Williams in Rosemont, which was Wentworth, therefore placing the construction of Wentworth between 1881 and 1885. The Wilson Brothers also built a stable on the property along with Williams' residence in Philadelphia at 101 N. 33rd Street (which had a stable, too). On top of all these constructions, the 1885 collection of Wilson Brothers architecture cites that Williams commissioned the construction of a greenhouse at 33rd and Arch in Philadelphia. These buildings, according to the book, would have been constructed between 1876 and 1885. Deeds do not help in dating the construction of the building as no deeds exist for the property.

Moses King's "Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians," from 1902, cites Williams as working fror Burnham, Williams & Co., the Baldwin Locomotive Works, and as the Pennsylvania Railroad's director of railroads (King 98). Places in Time notes that Williams worked at the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1865-1870, then started working for Baldwin in 1870.

Image 3: 1881 Real Estate Map

Image 4: Edward H. Williams, from King 1902

Image 5 shows the Wentworth estate in 1887. Williams acquired an additional fifty-four acres of land, thereby increasing his acreage to ninety-eight. The additional acres came from the engulfment of a neighboring property, which John L. Hill owned in 1881. Wentworth appears on this atlas as the figure below the "W" in "Wentworth". The blank space denotes a brick or stone building, along with the bulding next to it. Five other structures appeared towards the middle of the property; the building marked with an "x" as a stable or barn, while the other served various other purposes.

Image 5: 1887 Real Estate Map

An 1895 Gopsill City Directory lists Edward Williams as working for Burnham, Williams & Co., and it lists his residence at the same 33rd St. address that the Wilson Brothers in their 1885 book.

Image 6, a real estate atlas from 1896, depicts Williams' estate. Along with Wentworth the property contained many houses and structures. Unfortunately, Williams does not appear in the 1900 census, so one cannot gather an idea of the number of people who lived on the estate. The black shaded buildings on the estate show brick or stone structures, while the blank buildings show wood construction. Like with previous maps, an "x" denotes a stable or barn. As the estate includes a number of buildings, this page will follow only the other named buildings in addition to Wentworth. In addition to Wentworth, Williams had "Lucerne", which was not on the property in 1887, and "Beechwood", which the 1887 atlas does show on the estate. Though no significant changes occurred, the property did lose two acres of land. One cannot easily discern where this loss occurs, however.

Image 6: 1896 Real Estate Map

Image 7: Wentworth, from Wilson Brothers 1897

Image 8: Wentworth Japanese Room, from Wilson Brothers 1897

Image 9: Sunnyside, from Wilson Brothers 1897

In Image 10, a real estate atlas from 1900, more named houses appear on the property. Williams, now listed as "Dr.", added "Outlook", "Fairview", and "Sunnyside" to the property. The only true addition, however, appears to be Sunnyside. When looking at the photograph of Sunnyside (Image 10 above), however, one sees that it was built in 1888 and thus was not new to the property. For the process of discerning building functions and the materials they consist of; brown means a stone building, pink a brick building, yellow a frame building, and blue a "half frame" building. In comparing the 1887 and 1900 depictions of Wentworth, it seems that a partial addition was added to the front (the front faces the path). Furthermore, Wentworth had frame additions on either side. While Image 7 does not show the front of Wentworth, it depicts a back view of the building. Image 8 shows Williams' "Japanese Room".

Image 10: 1900 Real Estate Map

Image 11, a real estate atlas from 1908, shows a change in possession of the Wentworth estate (thus suggesting Edward's death), as Mrs. William F. Dreer came to own the property between 1900 and 1908. The property held at ninety-eight acres, and two frame structures, "Roadside", appeared along Old Lancaster Road. Regarding Edward's death, the Places In Time website lists it as December 21st, 1899.

The 1910 census lists William F. Dreer in Delaware County. In 1910, William was sixty and was married to Anna W. (age fifty), and they had been married for twenty-three years with one daughter, Florence (age 17). While the census lists William's occupation, the census taker did not write clearly, and the word is illegible. The Dreers had three servants, including a Japanese chef (perhaps relating to Edward Williams' Japanese themed room). Fortunately a Boyd's City Directory from 1915 lists William F. Dreer as the president of Henry A. Dreer Inc., and makes note that he did not have a home in the city.

Image 11: 1908 Real Estate Map

Image 12, a real estate atlas from 1920, depicts a minor change on the Wentworth estate. The acreage fell to ninety from ninety-eight in previous atlases. This decrease occured from a loss of land at the "top" portion of the property ("top" when compariong the 1908 and 1920 atlases). Unfortunately, the Dreers do not show in the 1920 census, even though the family name remained attached to Wentworth in 1926.

Image 12: 1920 Real Estate Map

Image 13, a real estate atlas from 1926, depicts significant change to the Wentworth estate. Mrs. William F. Dreer still owned the property, but a large portion along Old Lancaster Road was lost to a development and smaller streets. Three different people swallowed up portions of the Wentworth estate along Roberts Road, though one was Florence, daughter of William and Anna. The estate lost Beechwood, Sunnyside, and Roadside during this six-year period. Sunnyside and Beechwood simply became part of different properties, but the Old Lancaster developments caused the demolition of Roadside.

The 1930 census lists Anna W. in Radnor, though William does not appear in the record, thereby placing his death between 1926 and 1930. Anna, born in Wisconsin, kept a secretary and two servants.

Image 13: 1926 Real Estate Map

Image 14, a real estate atlas from 1937, does not show any changes in the property after 1926, though it does list the acreage at sixty-three and denotes Anna as the owner.

Image 14: 1937 Real Estate Map

Images 15 and 16, real estate atlases from 1948, show the Wentworth estate on two different plates. While Image 15 does not show clearly, one sees Anna had moved to the portion of the property around Outlook. The section around Wentworth, however, was split up. In Image 16 one sees the new owner, Gustave Stahl. Fairview and Lucerne also became part of different properties. The Wentworth estate thus fell to fifteen acres.

Image 15: 1948 Real Estate Map

Image 16: 1948 Real Estate Map

Image 17, a real estate atlas from 1961, depicts Wentworth's destruction. Though the form of Wentworth appears the same as in previous atlases, St. Edmond's Home tore down Wentworth in 1956 and constructed a brick building (1956 comes from date on building as well as the St. Edmond's Home website, cited under "Sources" below).

Image 17: 1961 Real Estate Map

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Sources

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

Above book found online at http://www.delcohistory.org/

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: http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/wh/ml/conj.jpg

Image 2: http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/hotchkin/rp/hk057.jpg, taken from Hotchkin

Additional Real Estate Atlases available at http://www.andysantiqueatlases.com/pa-pages/pennsylvania_main_line.htm

Image 1: http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/wh/ml/wile.jpg


URL=http://students.haverford.edu/mgrant/subwent.html

Last revised on 16 December 2005, MG Feedback