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1903 Dutch Colonial – Constructed for Edward Lorimer!!!

1110 Stratford Avenue, Elkins Park, , 19027
  • 2.5 baths
  • 6 beds
  • 4,782 sq ft
  • 0.36
Property Website Date Posted: November 21, 2018

$675,000

laughscott56

Circa 1903

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About This Old House

It’s time once again to take you on yet another magical history tour!!!

Since I have written so much in the past on the development of Elkins Park in previous listings, I won’t bore you yet again with how this area developed from the land of grand estates to that of wealthy real estate development.

So let me start by staying focused just on this one area, and the family that had this house constructed.

What is now the section that is known as Melrose Park was once just two large estates. Anna R. Sharpless owned a 60 acre estate called “The Oaks”. Richard C. Dobbins owned an estate on over 100 acres called Ellerslie.

Richard Dobbins was a wealthy contractor and was responsible for constructing Memorial Hall during the Centennial Exhibition of 1876. This is the only building that still stands today inside Fairmount Park from that exhibition and now houses the Please Touch Museum. Mr. Dobbins was also responsible for the construction of many of the commercial buildings in Philadelphia during the 19th Century, including The First National, the Philadelphia Savings Fund, The United States Naval Asylum & the Farmer’s Market on the site of what is now the Reading Terminal Market.

Mr. Dobbins passed away in 1893, and his Son, William E. Dobbins began to liquidate and sub-divide his estate.

In 1894, the Melrose Land & Improvement Co. began marketing property recently acquired from the Dobbins estate.

“BEAUTIFUL MELROSE” – If you are contemplating a home in the country you should first see our elegant ¼ acre Villa sites at MELROSE. Eight miles from the Reading Terminal Station; forty trains daily each way. The location and surroundings are unequaled and must be seen to be appreciated. Plans & descriptive books furnished upon application.”

This was an advertisement in the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 21, 1894.

We were in the height of the industrial revolution, and many wealthy business people took advantage of the growth in suburban development to create their country houses. Many of the above ¼ acre lots were combined to ½ acre or more lots.

And now we get to the original family that constructed 1110 Stratford Avenue, the Lorimers.

There were so many new industries that developed during the 19th Century, but the Lorimer family’s business was as old as time, the making of cotton, wool, linen and jute yarns. The Father, William Lorimer emigrated to the United States from Scotland where he settled in Connecticut as a dyer at the Hartford Carpet Co. The family then relocated to Ontario, Canada where the Father continued to work in the woolen industry before establishing his own mill. His children chose to stay in the industry, but eventually all relocated to Philadelphia, working for various mills before establishing their own company.

The William H. Lorimer Son’s Company was one of the largest manufacturers of yarns in the United States. Named after the Father, the five Brothers established the company and ended up constructing a massive factory at the corner of Ontario & Lawrence Streets in North Philadelphia. The company obtained numerous patents for the process of dying fabrics as well as for ventilation systems for factories that produce yarns.

Three of the Brothers (Edward, Joseph & Walter) purchased lots from the Melrose Land & Improvement Co. and all three constructed beautiful homes on the same street!

My listing at 1110 Stratford Avenue was constructed by James Bartleson of Ambler for Edward Lorimer in 1903. It remained in the Lorimer family from 1903 until 1982 when my client purchased the property from a grand-nephew of Mrs. Lorimer. As only the 2nd Owner in over 115 years, all of the family & house history has remained completely & fully in-tact and will convey to the next generation that calls this fantastic property, home!

In 1916, the Lorimer family purchased “The Packard” model garage from Alladin Ready Cut Homes of Bay City, Michigan! The garage was shipped to the Melrose station “and delivered via horse drawn carriage” to the property. My clients still have the original instructions on how to erect the garage from the manufacturer!

This gracious 3-story Dutch Colonial has nearly 5,000 S.F. of beautifully detailed living space!

Appearances can be deceiving, as the current Owner, a Master Craftsman, Carpenter & Cabinet Maker has seamlessly integrated completely modern systems into a tasteful Victorian aesthetic!

A complete list of all of the enhancements is provided at the end of my description.

There is a graceful symmetry to the home as you approach through a series of steps up to the full front porch that wraps around the side and connects to the rear yard. The original shutters still flank all the original windows and are as crisp as they day they were installed (more on why, later).

The central hallway is an exquisite composite of quarter-sawn Oak detailing, from the floors to the moldings to the intricate balusters & stairway. Vintage gas & electric combination lanterns (that have been restored) adorn the living spaces on the first floor.

The sitting room has always had its trim painted, as that was the fashion coming into vogue of the Colonial Revival style. The corner fireplace now has an electric fireplace insert.

The living room & the dining room are encased in Chestnut woodwork from the trim to the fireplace surrounds, pocket doors, crown moldings, picture rails, plate rails in the Dining Room and even the interior shutters! The living room fireplace was completely reconstructed. The detailed Bradbury & Bradbury wall & ceiling papers are appropriate designs reflective of the period the house was constructed, installed by the current owners.

When one steps into the butler’s pantry & kitchen, you will feel like you stepped back to 1903. However, only two of the cabinets in these two spaces are original, can you figure out which ones? This is likely the most thoughtful integration of cabinetry into an historic house that I have ever seen, re-creating every single detail of the Yellow Pine cupboards & base cabinets as if they were 115 years old, but they’re not! Then the modern conveniences were added, like the Viking stove, the stainless steel dishwasher in the island & a modern fridge.

Tucked at the rear of the kitchen is a large laundry room as well as the breakfast room. Direct access to the rear yard & the 2-car garage is via the breakfast room, which has a beautifully detailed gable roof & Cedar panels in a creative oval pattern.

Upstairs, there are 3 bedrooms and 1 full bath on each floor. The master suite incorporates a huge walk-in closet with custom designed organizers (constructed by the current Owner) in what was likely the original nursery of the home over the front entry. The other two bedrooms occupy two of the remaining corners while the completely updated bathroom has a large glass-fronted stall shower along with a tub, marble flooring & period appropriate wall tiles. There is a rear staircase down to the kitchen, two linen closets as well as a door to the roof over the laundry & breakfast room.

The third floor has three more large rooms (with fantastic ceiling height, due to the Dutch roof lines that still provide for a floored attic above this floor). The hall bathroom has also been completely updated in black & white subway tiles that includes a stall shower and the original clawfoot tub.

Half of the basement has been dedicated to the Owners woodworking studio. A significant amount of electrical power was routed to this space, providing for four 220 volt circuits to power all the shop equipment. While all of the woodworking equipment will be removed from the property, the studio space is ready to be re-imagined for other uses by the next Owner.

Out back, the property has a 2-car garage (still retaining the original sliding carriage doors) and a large, fully enclosed vegetable garden. A gothic storage shed is tucked into the far corner of the yard.

There are so many specimen plantings surrounding the house, including quite a few varieties of Crepe Myrtles, hydrangea, lilacs, camellias, viburnum, tree & herbaceous peonies, a stately American Holly and other old-fashioned perennials & shrubs. The current Owners installed three large American Elm trees (two on the neighboring property) to help in bringing back an historical tribute to what may have likely been planted in the first place.

Here are just a few of the numerous upgrades to the property.

New Grand Manor shingle roof installed in 2015. The shingles have a lifetime warranty (per manufacturer website) and there is a 1-time transferrable warranty.

The inside & outside trim was completely stripped of lead paint down to bare wood & re-painted (or stained) using Benjamin Moore paints.

The two HV-A/C systems were installed in 2016 and 2018
The gas-fired, condensing furnace (98% efficiency) was replaced in 2012

The laundry room & breakfast room were re-configured in 2012

The 2nd floor bathroom was renovated in 2018

The 3rd floor bathroom was renovated in 2016

The front porch was repaired & refinished in 2017

The electrical system was upgraded to 200 AMPs with extensive re-wiring to add capacity & function throughout.

Just as the Melrose Land & Improvement Co. advertised in 1894, the same reason why people came out to “the country” still applies today. The neighborhood is a wonderful mix of 19th & early 20th Century architecture, with sidewalks, tree lined streets and neighbors that welcome everyone to their community.

The Reading Terminal Market is still just 8 miles away and is easily accessed via the SEPTA regional rail line. One can walk to either the Melrose or Elkins Park train stations for service to downtown Philadelphia, 30th Street station and on to the Philadelphia airport.

At Elkins Park West, one finds numerous restaurants & CreekSide Coop (a member-owned, but open to the public full service food store).

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