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“Woodmont,” Alan Wood House

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1891–1893, Francis and William L. Price. Woodmont Rd., off Spring Mill Rd., West Conshohocken, 3.2 miles north of Bryn Mawr

When the Price brothers won the competition for this great house in 1891, they were completing the Kenilworth Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. There they saw and were wowed by Richard Morris Hunt's Biltmore, the recreation of a French medieval palace for the Vanderbilts. “Woodmont” is the Price brothers’ attempt to master the new historical style. Originally set on six hundred acres, its still impressive property of fifty acres provides the conventional circuitous entrance drive that reveals and conceals the house within a landscape that encompasses wilderness and open fields. The house takes the form of a compact Victorian plan of the sort the Price brothers would have learned in Frank Furness's office, with a principal room surrounded by secondary spaces. But the exterior detail is a robust version of the late French Gothic of Biltmore made memorable by a pyramidal roof that rises six stores to its peak. The Prices played off the height of the roof by using it to enclose the great hall that rises full height to the roof peak and is interrupted only by the balcony which provides access to the second-floor bedrooms and to a roof deck above the portecochere. The house was acquired by Father M. J. Divine's Peace Mission in 1952 and has been lovingly restored by its owners whose organization remains centered here. At the rear is the granite mausoleum of Father Divine, designed by William Heyl Thompson with bronze doors illustrating the beliefs of the Peace Mission by Donald De Lue, sculptor of the heroic facade figures of the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia ( PH44).

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas
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Citation

George E. Thomas, "“Woodmont,” Alan Wood House", [Gladwyne, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-02-MO14.

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, 199-200.

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