The Evolution of the Bryn Mawr Suburb 1880-1970 Tamarinda Figueroa Alison Reingold Charles Wattamatusapotomos Neal Arakawa
We focused on three general areas around Bryn Mawr township, including a square of land developed around the 1950’s, a row of identical freestanding houses built in the early 20th century, and a series of speculative row houses bordering Lancaster Avenue.
We also tracked the influence of older farm estates, including that of the Ashbridge, a home built in 1769.
“Ashbridge Park was purchased by Welsh Quaker immigrant Rees Thomas after his arrival in America in 1683, on only the second boat of Welsh settlers to reach America. In 1769, his son and a grandson, Rees Thomas III, built the Georgian-style main house that graces the property today. “
The strong Georgian style is echoed in various modern homes within its midst, but does not exist as the only influence.
Many of the suburban homes have Georgian revival architecture, using symmetrical bays on the front, paned white windows and grand entranceways.
This home (above) uses stone in a manner similar to Harriton and Ashbridge, but deviates in its asymmetrical front, which reveals its hall parlor plan.
This home has a entrance porch nearly identical to the entrance to Ashbridge.
In a few examples, we saw evidence of timber framing, or half-timber construction, which, for medieval German homes, provided a visible skeletal frame that supported the whole building. In its modern form, the designer uses the visual of timber framing in a purely decorative manner, using bricks as filling instead of plaster.
Modern brick production allows for a uniformity of size and color that enables designers to use bricks in ornate, geometric ways.
As you move closer to Montgomery Avenue, we noticed, based on conversations with friendly homeowners, that the age of the houses increased. These rows, built around 1900, were originally composed of a wooden exterior built upon a stone foundation.
Built between Lancaster and Montgomery Avenues, these speculative row houses existed within close proximity to the commercial areas of Bryn Mawr township.
The residents claim that these homes were constructed around the early 1900s, as were the free standing homes a mere block away.