Today I had to make a trip to the post office, so I chose to go to Elkins Park, about seven minutes from home. Originally I thought I’d set a sunshine in the building, but then I remembered the building’s neighbor – Lynnewood Hall. I thought I’d take a look and see if a sunshine might be right for that location instead.
Lynnewood Hall is one of the mansions built in our area about a hundred years ago, when Cheltenham was popular with the very wealthy for their large homes. (I left a sunshine at another one of these homes, Grey Towers Castle, now part of Arcadia University). This house was built by P.A.B. Widener around 1900. Widener got his start selling meat to the government during the Civil War and later diversified into streetcar transportation, eventually dominating the Philadelphia area. This house now stands on 36 acres but the original estate was several hundred. The house was full of art and beautiful furnishings. There’s plenty of information on the internet if you’re interested to read more.
Like so many of these wealthy families, their troubles seemed to be over-sized, too. A son and grandson perished on the Titanic and the family left the house in the 1940’s. Not long to enjoy this huge estate, was it? The property came into the hands of an independent church/seminary and since then it has essentially been unused and fallen further and further into disrepair.
I set the sunshine on a section of the wall/fence right in front of the building. I don’t know if anyone will ever see it. But I think this is probably a spot where people might cross the street from the post office to get a better look.
Now Lynnewood Hall is finally for sale. The price is not that high, but the repair costs will be astronomical. I can see today plenty more signs of decay since the last time I stopped here maybe a few years ago. Who knows what the next chapter of the story will be? I find the place fascinating. It sits patiently waiting while things have changed so much outside the gates.
After looking at Lynnewood Hall, I was struck by the style of the post office. Maybe it’s just a little bit of a nod to the mansion?
If you want to know more about the Sunshine Project, look here, or search the category “Sunshine Project”.