Archive for the ‘Historic Preservation’ Category

An ironic motif

I was contemplating Lynnewood Hall’s progress into decay and noticed the hourglass in the sculptural design in the pediment:
I wish that architecturally significant buildings were not as much of an endangered species as they are in the US.

Lynnewood Hall was added to the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s 2003 list for most endangered historic properties and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It is cited in Cheltenham Township’s Comprehensive Plan as one of the township’s cultural and historical resources, and in the township’s Open Space Plan as a priority for preservation, warranting a conservation easement.

A sister property, Whitemarsh Hall, the Edward T. Stotesbury mansion, in Wyndmoor, PA was demolished in 1980.  Another house, Ardrossan, has been made into a housing estate, while preserving the mansion.

While these are the size of wings of some European palaces, they are significant to US culture, but somehow that history has been made egalitarian. The homes of “robber barons” are not to be saved. This is unlike the European estates which are intended to last for the ages (whether they do is yet to be seen).

I have been told to read James T. Maher’s, The Twilight of Splendor for an explanation of why these estates have been ravaged by time.


See also: Horace Trumbauer.