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Follies in Suburbia

22 June, 2017

The Stotebury Estates in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania is a most peculiar sight.  The housing estate was formerly the site of Whitemarsh Hall, a neo-Georgian mansion built by banker Edward T. Stotesbury and designed by Horace Trumbauer (who was also one of the architects of the Philadelphia Museum of Art). It was massive and lavish, larger than the White House. Nicknamed the “American Versailles”, Whitemarsh Hall was said to cost more than a million dollars per year to maintain. Given this excess, it’s not a great surprise that the family went broke by the late 1930s.

By the 1980s, the mansion and extensive gardens were demolished (woe, woe!) but a few relics remain sprinkled amongst the split-levels and tragically dull houses: the main gate, guardhouse, a few statues, a fountain of Neptune, low walls and, as seen below, a belvedere and stairs, and the columns from the mansion’s entrance portico.

Wandering through the former Whitemarsh Hall grounds, is indeed a bizarre (but recommended) experience. These belvederes and columns–once integrated elements of a grand mansion and gardens–are now follies in suburbia.

Whitemarsh Hall in Wyndmoor 2

Whitemarsh Hall in Wyndmoor 3

Whitemarsh Hall in Wyndmoor

With thanks to Da Dork for taking the Author on a bike tour of these ancient ruins in suburbia.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    25 June, 2017 10:41 am

    It’s the view of this less-than-diligent reader that these “ruins” should be torn down.

  2. Dadork permalink
    25 June, 2017 11:17 am

    You’re welcome, Clarissa Whitehorn.

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