The Philadelphia Main Line Real Estate Agency
12 St. Albans Circle, Newtown Square, PA 19073
Office 610.325.4100 :: Direct 610.642.4607 :: Fax 610.642.1715 :: Cell 610.506.0802
A proven track record of exceeding buyer expectations!
We specialize in Wynnewood home buying, financing
and relocation. Wynnewood is located on the Philadelphia Main Line.
Wynnewood is difficult to define geographically since the post office, the election board, and the Wynnewood Civic Association use different boundaries for it. Wynnewood is surrounded by Merion, Narberth, Penn Valley, Ardmore, and Penn Wynne. It is named for Dr. Thomas Wynne. The first land-owning families bore the names of Jones. Wistar. Owen. and Price, who were primarily farmers.
By 1883, new names appeared on the property maps: Henry C. Gibson, distiller; N. Parker Shortridge, Philadelphia banker and director of the Pennsylvania railroad; and Isaac H. Clothier, department store magnate. These were businessmen expecting to commute to the city. Among the large properties remaining in 1913 were the Wynne Wood tract owned by Edward D. and Robert Toland and St. Mary's twenty-six acres owned by Mrs. S. E. Chichester (Tolands and Chichesters were Jones and Wistar descendants). From about 1890 to 1920 developers such as McIlvain and Company owned many lots and built and sold homes in the $10,000 range to middle-class buyers. This trend in home building persisted, slackening only during the Depression and World War 1I, when labor and materials were lacking.
Between the world wars English Village, begun in 1925, north of the former Ardmore Junior High School, was designed by architect S. Arthur Love, Jr., and built by his brother, Donald Love. The houses are reproductions of Cotswold village cottages with appropriate landscaping. A winding road through the development is called Love's Lane; a circular drive was called King Arthur's Round Table until recent years when residents opted for a less romantic address.
After World War II one of the last open areas in Wynnewood was the Shortridge tract, 160 acres of farmland with Indian Creek meandering through, bounded by Lancaster Avenue, Bowman Avenue, and East Wynnewood Road. Local boys were still trapping muskrats along the stream until the forties. Real estate developers had acquired the land in the thirties, but only one garden apartment complex, Wynnewood Park, and a few houses had been constructed. In 1945 there was a building explosion, and 360 single homes were built on the Shortridge Tract in a few years. Two more apartments were built, the Wyndon in 1948, and the Brynwood in 1955. A small shopping district along East Wynnewood Road, across Penn Road from the station, had grown up earlier. These were joined in 1954 by the Wynnewood Shopping Center, built on Shortridge land and housing eleven stores, a supermarket, and the department stores of John Wanamaker and Bonwit Teller. The Wynnewood post office moved from the station into its own buildings in the shopping center. Office buildings, apartment houses (Wynnewood Plaza and Thomas Wynne) and businesses have grown up in the environs of the shopping center.
Wynnewood is a fully developed residential community with a well-defined commercial segment. Shortridge Park, part of the Lower Merion Park Shortridge Park, part of the Lower Merion Park system offers recreation along Indian Creek.
Some landmarks, fortunately, have been lovingly preserved. The Owen House, also known as Penn Cottage, at 380 East Montgomery Avenue, has been preserved and is included in the Pennsylvania Inventory of Historic Places. The stone house was built on 442 acres bought from Deputy Governor Thomas Lloyd in 1695 by Robert Owen. Since Owen was a magistrate, his house, described by a grandson as "a large commodious dwelling house," frequently served as a court. The name Penn Cottage derives from the legend that William Penn visited there.
Wynne Wood was built in 1818 by Jonathan Jones, grandson of the first Jones owner of Owen House. Jonathan's son, Owen Jones, was born at Wynne Wood and Lived his Life there. He was a congressman and a colonel in the Union Army. The house was destroyed by fire in 1858, but the contents were saved and the house was rebuilt. The property descended to J. Aubrey Jones, who died childless, and then passed to his cousins, Edward D. and Robert Toland in 1908. By 1900, however, only one hundred acres still surrounded Wynne Wood house. The house was subsequently demolished to make way for homes on Wister, Chichester, Owen, and Fairhill roads.
One part of the original Jones tract, fifty-four acres near today's Wynnewood Station, was bought by Henry C. Gibson, a distiller, for his impressive home Maybrook, designed by George W. and W. D. Hewitt to resemble a medieval Scottish castle, and built in 1881. The grounds were beautifully landscaped; two trees of every variety that would grow in this climate were planted. In the early 1950s, part of the woodland was sold and the Thomas Wynne Apartment House was erected. In 1956 Miss Mary Gibson sold Maybrook to John Merriam. Having reached its centenary, Maybrook is still a beautiful reminder of a way of life that once flourished in Wynnewood.
Another portion of the original Jones holding near Church Road was sold to Dr. Malcolm and Hannah Macfarlan in 1894. The Macfarlans purchased Homeworth, a remodeled house of the early nineteenth century, and named by Jonathan Jones's widow, Mary Thomas Jones, in 1840. They changed the name of the house to Ellerslie, Dr. Macfarlan's birthplace in Scotland, and built three additional houses at 201, 207, and 213 Church Road. They had bought Ellerslie for a summer residence, and the property was used as a small farm. Dr. Douglas Macfarlan, one of the founders of the Lower Merion Historical Society, grew up there, and, after 1930, Lived there with his wife. His interest in local history and his sketches of historic buildings have conserved knowledge of the area's past. After his death in 1966, the Philadelphia Electric Company purchased the property and resold it. Ellerslie was razed, and luxury homes were built in the late 1970s on the land, some of which the township reserved for recreation.
Walter Annenberg has his home on Llanfair Road, which is also on the old Jones tract. According to his biographer, Gaeton Fonzi (Annenberg, 1969), his "communications empire" made him "one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the United States." Although he sold the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia's Daily News in the sixties, he controlled a national newspaper, the Morning Telegraph, two magazines--TV Guide and Seventeen--six TV stations and nine radio stations, in addition to several other enterprises. He established the Annenberg Foundation and the Annenberg Fund, which support many causes concerned with welfare, medical education, culture, and relief programs. In 1977 the foundation allotted $967,000. His principal contributions have been the Annenberg School of Communications and the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, both at the University of Pennsylvania, and the establishment of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Under President Nixon he served as ambassador to the Court of St. James's.
Part of the original Price land was sold to Isaac H. Clothier, who in 1881 built Ballytore, a Victorian mansion still standing on West Wynnewood Road. It remained his home until 1933, when it was sold to the Agnes Irwin School for Girls. The school occupied the building until 1961. The house was used in the filming of David and Lisa (released early in 1964) after the school had moved to Ithan. In 1962 the building, with some alterations, became the Armenian Church of St. Sahag and St. Mesrob.
Another piece of original Price land made up the farm of Josiah Knox, which appears on early nineteenth-century maps. The farmhouse in 1981 was the west wing of the Knox Home, 718 Sussex Road, a home for the elderly established by Margaret and her brother Charles Knox on the latter's death in 1937. The springhouse of the farm, believed to have been built in 1833 and located at Lakeside Avenue on West Wynnewood Road, has been converted into a residence by Mr. and Mrs. J. Charles Hutton.
Landmarks that have been destroyed include the old Wynnewood Schoolhouse on East Lancaster Avenue. Used as a community center after it had ceased to be used as a school, it became the Nash Realty Company's office before it was torn down in the fifties. Wynnewood's school has undergone changes. The former Wynnewood public elementary school, discontinued in 1978, was purchased and occupied by the Torah Academy.
Lawrence R. Klein brought fame to Wynnewood in 1980, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. A winner of many honors and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Pennsylvania, Klein had been a pioneer in econometric forecasting and developed the first econometric model of the United States economy. With the "Wharton Model," he used statistics and economic data gathered from businesses and government to Forecast the economy for large corporations and the government. His international project LINK ties together economic forecasts for the entire world.
A number of civic organizations work toward keeping Wynnewood an attractive place. Among them are the Wynnewood Civic Association, the Shortridge Civic Association, the Wynnewood Valley Women's Club, the Ard-Wynne Club, and the Main Line Temple Sisterhood.
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