Period descriptions of N. Wayne houses – Wendell & Smith, W.L. Price

“Wholesale building” of Wayne Estate houses as explained in last week’s column, resulted in much duplication of the architectural plans of which there were, however, quite a number. Some of the first plans had distinctive names. One was the “Gabled Inn,” of which the first were scheduled to be built on North Wayne and Woodland avenues. However, a walk around present day North Wayne shows that this plan must have gained much favor as there are several “Gabled Inns” on most of the streets. 407 North Wayne avenue and its next door neighbor, 409, are examples of this type. Our booklet states that it “has good porches and contains reception room with large square hall and oak stairway, living room with open grate and mantel, dining room, pantry, kitchen and out kitchen on first floor, and five chambers and bathroom on second floor, with a room in the roof for servant’s use or storage purposes. A thoroughly cozy home. Plumbing as good as the best. Stairway of oak, furniture finish. Back stairs.” On a lot 60 x 200 this type house was built to sell for $5,500.

The “Flemish House” was somewhat larger, although planned for the same sized lot os the “Gables Inn.” It sold for $7,000. Its special features seem to have been “a portico on the front,” – handsome effects in colored glass” and a unique mantel. These were originally built on Chestnut and Beechtree lanes and on Woodland avenue. 407 Woodland avenue and 214 and 218 Beechtree lane are examples of this type.

The “Round End House,” designed after “Old English homes” was placed on a lot 120 x 225 and priced at $8,000. “A large open living room with liberal fireplace, yet secluded from hall, is the chief feature of this plan” according to our booklet. Originally scheduled for Woodland avenue, this type house is also found pretty generally throughout Wayne. Number 325 Beechtree lane is one example of this plan.

The “New Tower House” had a 155 foot lot and sold originally for $9,500. Numbers 213 and 131 Beechtree lane are of this type. This merited a very flowery description in the early advertisements. “A very picturesque exterior. Large well shaded portico on the front. A very attractive thirteen room house with carved oak staircase. Hardwood finish on the first floor and home-like corners for your furniture. Tasteful effects in stained glass rundells. The very best of everything in this home.”

Examples of the “Pillar House” may be seen at 310 Oak lane; 129 Walnut avenue and 419 North Wayne avenue. This house was built of stone and brick, “pebble coated to second story” on a lot 113 x 230. Here is the first mention of “Stationary soapstone washing tubs.” There were “two rooms third floor; good closets in every room – A novel effect has been produced by joining the back and main stairways and putting a glass window over both. This is quite a feature in this plan.” The price of this house was $8,250.

The architect for the “Gables Inn” was J. C. Worthington, with offices at 755 Walnut street in Philadelphia. The other four houses were designed by the firm of F. L. and W. L. Price, of 731 Walnut street.

While houses were being sold in North Wayne to the extent of “a half million dollars worth to satisfied purchasers . . . the south side, on Lancaster avenue, near St. Davids station and the adjoining territory, has another half a million dollars worth of houses now under way. Most of them will be ready for the early fall market.” (This is quoted from the September 1890 edition of the advertising brochure.) Plans for “all of these Country Homes, which are on a plateau in Delaware County’s highlands” had been adopted at this time. All were to have “the best of plumbing, with the novel goodness of steam heat and tasty decorations in stained glass and tile work and oak and plate glass finish for first floors. Places of so much progressiveness, with great and meritorious work, should receive your attention, either for present or future needs.”

These houses do not have the distinguishing names that were given to the North Wayne houses. However, the writer has endeavored to identify each of the different types by giving the location of one or more of these South Wayne and St. Davids houses. Here, as in the first houses built by Wendell and Smith, there is the same duplication throughout the sections. Prices are much the same as the earlier ones, but the gratifying phrase “and upwards” is always added! The architects were F. L. and W. L. Price, who designed so many of the North Wayne houses. Presumably the terms of sale were practically the same, “$2,000 in cash, or other terms can be arranged if desired” with title “guaranteed by prominent trust companies in Philadelphia and Wayne, who will give prompt attention to all conveyancing matters entrusted to their care.”

This development on the South side of the railroad will be described in next week’s column.