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“Thunderbird Lodge,” Charles and Alice Barber Stephens House

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1904, William L. Price. Rose Valley Rd. opposite Price's Ln.

Alice Barber Stephens was a pupil of Thomas Eakins and her husband was the cousin of Eakins's brother-in-law Frank Stephens, William Price's partner in the utopian community at Arden, Delaware. After a summer in the Guest House, they acquired an old Pennsylvania barn on Rose Valley Road and commissioned Price to adapt it to serve as a house and double studio. Though Cotswoldlike in character, the house is free from most of the historical flourishes of Price's earlier work, instead paralleling Charles Rennie McIntosh's contemporary houses in the Glasgow, Scotland, vicinity. Price described the process of making the house: “This house grew, as all houses should grow, out of the needs of the owners and the opportunity offered by the site.” Taking advantage of the barn's north–south orientation, he could create studios with north light. The house is joined to the studio by a projecting octagonal stair. As Price described it, “All the detail is as simple and direct as possible, and the interior is finished in cypress stained to soft browns and greys and guilty of no finish other than wax or oil.” Price designed several other houses including the Schoen house, the now demolished McLanahan house, and the immense Jackson house with its gate posts facing Rose Valley Road. Other important houses in the community were designed by Price's brother and former partner Walter Price, including his own house with its whispers of Italy on Bancroft Lane.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas
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Citation

George E. Thomas, "“Thunderbird Lodge,” Charles and Alice Barber Stephens House", [Media, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-02-DE26.3.

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, 226-227.

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