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“Dolobran,” Clement Griscom House

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1881, 1888, 1894, Furness and Evans; Furness, Evans and Co. Laurel Ln., Haverford
  • (© George E. Thomas)

Most of Lower Merion's houses by Frank Furness have been demolished or altered, but the home of industrialist Clement Griscom, president of the Red Star steamship line (for which Furness designed steamship interiors), was restored in 1989 and is the best regional example of Furness's domestic style. Unlike the palatial designs of Furness's teacher Richard Morris Hunt, Furness underplayed wealth. Instead, as here, relatively small volumes clad in unheroic shingle and local stone describe the varied purposes of the house. At the end of the century, Furness added an immense wing to the rear that extended into the site via a stone terrace. The landscape was as remarkable as the house, contrasting an American Wild Garden with formal settings. The power of the owners of these understated mansions is evidenced by their success in elevating William Howard Taft to presidential candidate of the Republican Party from meetings in this house in 1900.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "“Dolobran,” Clement Griscom House", [Haverford, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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, 192-192.

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