Yes John, sounds like they are the stones in Fern Hill Park
Yes Catherine, I have a copy of “Germanopolis” printed in
1908 for the 225th Anniversary of the settlement of Germantown in
which there is a photograph of “FERNHILL, Residence of Mrs. Thomas McKean,
McKean Avenue.” This house
featured a large, tall square tower on its southeast side that would
have overlooked the Delaware Valley.
Must have been a great view from up there. It looks like the house stood where the tennis or basket
ball (can’t remember which) courts are today with the old drive in front of the
house remaining. I’ll try to scan
it for posting sometime.
This book has lots of great photographs, including the
residence of Henry M. Steel on the 5000 block of McKean Avenue. Demolished before we were kids the
empty lot is what we called “The Old Lot”. The Kern Dodge House when empty and demolished became, “The
New Lot.” When these were
developed, the Smith House on Wissahickon became, “The New Old Lot.”
The carriage house of the Steel house stood in a hollow
behind it close to the Kern Dodge House was still up when I was young. The “L”
shaped hollow that led to the carriage house became the basement for the
Hampshire House apartments that were built there. The Steel house was next to the Mary Mapes Dodge house,
still standing on the corner of Caliper and McKean. In the photo of the Steel house you see the half circular
drive, parts of which can still be seen near the sidewalk even today, and in
1908, a small pine tree in the middle of the half circle created by the
drive. I remember as a kid the
entire drive was still there, and sometimes hiding under that pine tree in the
1950’s, which then had its lowest branches touching the ground.
The Germannopolis also has a picture of Bill Tilden’s house
he called “Overleigh”. You can see
where some decorative cornice work has been removed at some point. I used to mow the lawn at that house
which was also part of my first Bulletin route.
Catherine, funny you should mention Henry Hill’s estate
Carlton. I live in Henry Hill’s
house in Society Hill as site manager.
Henry is a cousin, and his city house, only one of three free standing
Federal Mansions built in town that is still standing, was later the home of my
great, great, great grandfather Dr. Philip Syng Physick.
Where the reservoir on Queen Lane is today, was the site of
Henry’s private racecourse. He was
known for his racing on what would later be named Race Street. In the book I mentioned above is a
photograph of Henry Hill’s house Carlton, then listed as “The residence of
Robert S. Smith, Midvale Avenue”.
Found the picture on the web: http://lcpdams.librarycompany.org:8881/R/?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=43386&local_base=GEN01
I am not sure about the Midvale Avenue address. I seem to remember it as a kid and my
father pointing to it as Henry Hill’s house, Carlton. I remember it standing on the east side of Queen Lane
between Fox and Wissahickon Avenue rather than Midvale. The house I remember, which looks like
the photo, was torn down in the late fifties to become the single story Gift
Shop and warehouse that initially was used by the Episcopal Church for their
storage needs. I must say though that the topography of the house in the
photograph of 1908 does look more like it would have been of Midvale Avenue
rather in the spot I remember which is a bit below the grade of Queen Lane. I’ll have to look into this a bit more.
The 1908 book also has a great photo of the Richard Bennis
House at Chew and Price Street. It
still stands today as a health center.
In the photograph, it is the only house in sight with woods that stretch
back to Awbury Arboretum. Lots of
other great house in this book some of which still stand others I remember as a
kid before they were demolished.