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“Hunting Hill,” Walter Jeffords House

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1789; 1915–1916, Eyre and McIlvaine. Ridley Creek State Park

A 1789 farmhouse was incorporated by Wilson Eyre Jr. into the immense English Gothic Revival country seat of Walter M. Jeffords, who acquired some two thousand acres in the vicinity of the Rose Tree Hunt. From the front, the house nestles into its site, but its rear wings extend out on great stone terraces that in classic Eyre fashion merged the site with the living spaces. With its great stone chimneys, channeled down their centers in the manner of the houses in the vicinity of George Washington's ancestral Sulgrave Manor in Oxfordshire, England, the house blends Anglophilia and nationalism while representing the landed gentry's lifestyle. In so rural a location the house became the setting for lavish entertaining in the manner of our English cousins, with immense dining rooms and ballrooms complete with ancestral English oak paneling and decorative plastered ceilings. Eyre and McIlvaine were awarded the first Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA's gold medal for the house in 1917 as “the best designed executed building shown” in the annual exhibit. Jefford's wife, Sarah, was the niece of local textile mill operator Samuel Riddle, owner of the legendary racehorse Man O’ War.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas
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Citation

George E. Thomas, "“Hunting Hill,” Walter Jeffords House", [Glen Mills, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-02-DE13.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 220-221.

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