Tulpehocken Station District
National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form
Available at the PHC and other depositories.

Included are the following five pages of text under the heading:

Item number 7. Description of the present and original (if known) physical appearance:

Page 1:

"Andrew Jackson Downing, America's first landscape architect, became the major spokesman for the movement. Long a proponent of landscape design, Downing sought to create a style of architecture which would compliment the natural surroundings he found so civilized. Looking back in history, Downing conjured up the images of quaint cottages, nestled among giant shade trees surrounded by lush lawns framed by graceful wrought iron fences, all safely removed from the unpleasantness on nineteenth century urban life. Downing's 'cottages' utilized a variety of designs including Gothic, Italianate, Bracketed and 'Rustic', effectively shaping the appearance and demeanor of the American suburb. The publication of his treatises on cottage residences in 1842 and the subsequent pattern books, offering plans and designs for the various styles brought the Picturesque Movement into the forefront of nineteenth century architectural and community development.

"The Tulpehocken Station Historic District is, perhaps, the first suburb in the country to put Downing's theories and designs into practice. The earliest period of development is marked by individual carpenters and house builders acting as real estate entrepreneurs, constructing elegant residences to attract former city dwellers. The Gothic style was among the most popular of the Picturesque Movement, owing to its successful translation into cottage or castle. Beginning in the 1850's, developer-builders such as John C. Fallon, Henry Atherton and Phineas Hamm brought the Carpenter Gothic style to life. So titled because the carpenter selected the building plans and details from the pattern books, these residences, characterized by stucco and stone construction, steeply pitched roofs with cross gabling, round, Gothic and triangular arched windows, with gingerbread on the porches and bargeboards, painted in earth tones, became the hallmarks of the American Gothic style. The unit block of Tulpehocken Street (bounded by Germantown Avenue and McCallum Street) is where development began within the district. Among the earliest examples are the Queen's house (#9), built in 1851 for Maria Christine, Queen of Spain. John Fallon directed the construction of this Gothic Revival structure in the event the Queen had to seek refuge in another country. Maria Christine never came to Germantown, but this residence is significant to the development of the neighborhood since it was the first structure built on Tulpehocken Street with Gothic cottages, including #53 and #55, constructed by Henry Atherton.

"By the 1860's, architectural variations on the Gothic theme were"

Page 2:

introduced, including Italianate and Elizabethan castles. The Mitchell House, located at 200 West Walnut Lane, built circa 1856, represents an idealized image of country living. The design of this large stone English castle is attributed to Samuel Sloan, although it may only be an imitation of his style. The asymmetrical plan and massing, wood battlement tower and Gothic arched entrance and steeply pitched gable roof line recall the medieval days of knights and damsels in distress. Its companion structure, the Van Dyke Residence, built circa 1861, located at 150 West Walnut Lane, carries the castle theme through the Italian Villa mode. Also attributed to the design work of Samuel Sloan, the building is more likely a Joseph Hoxie design. As seen in this building, the tower is interpreted in the Italianate style with pedimented gable. Handsomely situated on a corner lot, both the Villa and Gothic styles adapt well for suburban residential design owing to the flexibility of design allowed by the rambling plan and massing. One block north, at the corner of Tulpehocken and Greene Streets is the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, a Norman Gothic Style castle. As development headed into the high Victorian period building became grander in scale and decoration, although never losing the picturesque character. Towards the end of this first phase of development, Phineas Hamm constructed several impressive, Italianate residences marked by their stucco and Wissahickon schist facades segmentally arched window openings and projecting eaves with decorative brackets.

"The 1860's and early 1870's marked a transition period from the Picturesque to the 'Age of Elegance'. During this period Italianate styling continued to be popular and the Second Empire style was introduced into the neighborhood. West Walnut Lane, marked by its later period of development has the lion's share of these buildings, particularly on the unit and 100 blocks. Thomas Millineaux, local builder, constructed a row of Wissahickon schist, Second Empire twins in 1872 and 1878. These structures are, however, simpler in design, offering no hint of the spectacular architecture to come. McCallum Street also has some worker housing, also built during this period.

"The physical pattern of development of this area is quite interesting and explains clustering of period buildings on certain blocks. Development began on the unit block of Tulpehocken Street and was concentrated there for the first ten years of growth. Continuing on,"

Page 3:

"Tulpehocken remained the major focus for building, primarily because the Johnson farm had been parceled off, while the Haines tract remained an active concern. Development did not begin on Walnut Lane until the early 1870's. This interestingly enough was not elegant housing. Rather, the first houses were smaller rows and twins. The elegant houses would find their way to Walnut Lane in the late 1870's, 80's, and 90's. McCallum Street is the only strip where there are no large residences. Possibly its proximity to Germantown Avenue and the mills on the east side of the Avenue marked it for simpler structures. As one travels further west from Germantown Avenue, closer to Fairmount Park and the train station, the residences become larger and more sophisticated in design. For the most part, these are the architect built buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Perhaps the opening of the railroad station in 1884 influenced the suburban dweller to live within a short walking distance or carriage ride distance of their transportation to town. Those blocks of Tulpehocken Street closest to Germantown Avenue offer the purest example of Downingesque suburban development, while those blocks of West Walnut Lane, closest to Wayne Avenue, provide an excellent summary of later nineteenth century suburban residential growth.

"The Conyers Button House - Gladstone, represents the major post Civil War structure possessing all of the sophistication and styling of the later architect built buildings. Constructed circa 1876, in the Queen Anne style, the building is highlighted by its decorative, pressed brick trim and porte cochere. It is interesting to note that the Queen Anne style also drew its influence from English roots and was picturesque in feeling, although the romance and fantasy of the earlier period was replaced by a more polished, studied product. In the shift from simple country cottages to elegant mansion the relationship between the built and natural environment was never lost. These later buildings are as carefully sited as their earlier counterparts.

"Queen Anne design like the Gothic style dominated this later period of development with many fanciful residences constructed of local Wissachickon schist. The works of G.W. Hewitt for Henry Houston are stellar examples of this stylistic time period. Houston's early speculative development interests focused on the blocks of Tulpehocken Street, Walnut Lane and Wayne Avenue, closest to the train station. Aware of the social and financial status of the targeted buyers,"

Page 4:

"Hewitt designed magnificent stone mansions which showed fluid grace in conjunction with the landscape, highlighted at selected points with Hewitt's now famous shingling, varied window treatment and roof lines. The three Queen Anne 'cottages', as they were described in a Germantown Independent Gazette article are truly beautiful, but Hewitt's design for the Lister Townsend House is breathtaking. Commissioned by Henry Lister Townsend in 1887, Hewitt designed a scaled down version of Drum Moir, Henry Houston's Chestnut Hill estate, at 6015 Wayne Avenue. This structure successfully bridged the two periods of development, offering a Picturesque Eclectic castle, designed by a locally prominent architect.

"Among the other architects keeping company with Hewitt, were the firms of Frank Miles Day and Brother, Cope and Stewardson, Hazelhurst and Huckel, Mantle Fielding and George T. Pearson, the latter two also residing in this area. Pearson's work in the neighborhood expressed his architectural flexibility and the varied architectural tastes being expressed. Initially hired by Calvin Pardee to redesign a residence for him on the 200 block of West Walnut Lane, he obviously became enchanted with the neighborhood, because some six years later he purchased a house further up on Walnut Lane, on which he worked his own brand of magic. The Pardee House, designed in the Spanish Jacobean style with distinctive Richardsonian Romanesque overtones is a sophisticated structure which took advantage of the freedom offered in the highly eclectic Victorian period. His design for his own residence is, however, significantly different. Having purchased a traditional Victorian style villa, Pearson proceeded to turn 125 West Walnut Lane into a Flemish Dutch chalet which is alive with texture, color and movement. Mantle Fielding, Pearson's neighbor, chose to stick to more conventional designs, altering many of the residences of Walnut Lane into Queen Anne, Italianate and Tudor splendor. His design for Comawaben (1899) located at 50 West Walnut Lane is an elegant Georgian Revival mansion interpreted in Wissahickon schist. By contrast, Rankin and Kellogg also designed a Georgian Revival residence for William Shelmerdine in 1899. Unlike Fielding's design, this structure is a reverential interpretation of the Georgian style down to its cedar shake shingles. The only marked difference between the original style and the Revival building is the outrageous scale. Frank Miles Day and Brother designed a near perfect replication of an Italianate Pallazzi for Henry Cummins at 240 West Tulpehocken Street, Cope and Stewardson designed an elegant Tudor residence for Edmund Crenshaw on the 400 block of Walnut Lane and"

Page 5:

"Hazelhurst and Huckel created a Spanish Revival residence for John Keator in 1894.

"By the close of the century and the beginning of the twentieth century, architectural design became a bit more pedestrian, relying heavily on the popular Colonial and Georgian Revival styles for their character. These structures, particularly on Greene Street are no less grand and imposing that the earlier buildings, but clearly some of the magic had disappeared from the architecture of the neighborhood. These blocks look remarkably like other twentieth century suburban developments such as Overbrook Farms.

"The years have been kind to this neighborhood and the quality and character which first attracted those suburban pioneers to this neighborhood remain intact, continuing to draw city dwellers out to the country. The rich green foliage seductively envelopes the cottages and castles, continuing to offer a clear image of Downing's vision for American suburban residential living.

"Significant structures within the Tulpehocken Station Historic District number 37 strong; there are 118 contributing houses and 13 buildings are intrusions. Of the intrusions, nearly all are apartment buildings built in the teens or in one case, the Curtallan Apartment, in 1949. A row of small brick homes on McCallum Street are 1922 intrusions. One intrusion, Alvin Drugs at 6120-22 Greene Street, is a commercial structure built in 1929. Only one nineteenth century building is listed as an intrusion, 133 West Tulpehocken Street, because it has been unsympathetically altered with changed windows, door and porch as well as nearly all the exterior wood sided with aluminum."

|| Home || Germantown || Addresses || Texts || Maps || Key ||