Apartments Proposed Atop Ardmore Christian Science Reading Room

The Christian Science Reading Room on Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore would get a two-story apartment building on top under a proposal submitted to Lower Merion's historical review board. | Google Street View image

The Christian Science Reading Room on Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore would get a two-story apartment building on top under a proposal submitted to Lower Merion’s historical review board. | Google Street View image

Developers Chris and Ryan Tobin want to join the parade of builders adding apartments to downtown Ardmore. Their modest proposal, however, would add two stories to a one-story historic building, so it got referred to the Lower Merion Historical Architecture Review Board.

The Main Line Times reports that the board voted to send the developers back to the drawing board to address concerns about the project’s design and its effect on neighboring structures. Read more »

Main Line Monday: A Renovated Farmhouse in Haverford for $775K

130 Avon Rd., Haverford, Pa. 19041 | TREND images via Zillow

130 Avon Rd., Haverford, Pa. 19041 | TREND images via Keller Williams Main Line Realty

Everybody knows that the Main Line is a hub for beautiful mansions and expansive estates, so when we stumbled upon a recently re-listed property as different from the norm as this, we knew we had to talk about it.

This chic farmhouse was built back in the 1940s and is situated among estates on a private road in Haverford. The beautiful, exposed wood ceilings blend flawlessly with new modern finishes to make it an artistic delight for anyone.

The main level features an eat-in kitchen with granite countertops and Shaker kitchen cabinetry. The great room works as both a living and dining room, and comes to life in the daytime thanks to the nine-foot French doors leading out to the private courtyard. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Pop Art in Merion Station

351 N. Highland Ave., Merion Station, Pa. 19066 | TREND Images from BHHS Fox & Roach

351 N. Highland Ave., Merion Station, Pa. 19066 | TREND Images from BHHS Fox & Roach

There are two kinds of fans of Modernism: the purists and the postmodernists.

The purists would no doubt recoil in horror once they set foot inside this classic Midcentury Modern home in Merion Station, designed in 1953 by Philadelphia architect Harry Sternfeld and possessing a rear facade that looks deceptively like one of Lower Merion’s highly-rated public schools.

The current owner has tastes that are clearly eclectic: vintage and modern furniture sit cheerfully side by side throughout the house, which itself is something of a riot of color and drenched in abundant light by that wall of windows on one side. Those same windows offer beautiful views of the home’s herringbone stone terrace and landscaped grounds. Read more »

Lower Merion School District Forced to Withdraw Tax Hike

Photo Courtesy of User:ifly6 via Wikimedia Commons

Lower Merion High School. Photo | ifly6 via Wikimedia Commons

A Montgomery County Judge told the Lower Merion School District it couldn’t raise taxes as much as it proposed this year, claiming the school district has, for years, exaggerated multimillion dollar deficits to warrant tax increases.

In a taxpayer lawsuit filed by attorney Arthur Wolk, Common Pleas Judge Joseph A. Smyth ordered the district to withdraw its planned 4.4 percent tax increase for 2016-17.

The judge found that the district has increased taxes by more than 53.3 percent since 2006 to make up for supposed budget holes – but recent findings reveal that despite the district’s projected budget deficits, it has continually had a surplus at the end of each school year. Smyth has not yet decided whether or not those who already paid their current school tax bills will receive rebates – an estimated $1,400 per householdRead more »

Police: “Anti-Semitic” Incident Outside Lower Merion Kosher Restaurant Wasn’t

The Dairy Cafe in Bala Cynwyd (photo via Dairy Cafe on Facebook)

The Dairy Cafe in Bala Cynwyd (photo via Dairy Cafe on Facebook)

Last week, Lower Merion was aflutter over allegations of anti-Semitic threats outside a kosher restaurant on Montgomery Avenue. But after days of investigation and involvement from the Anti-Defamation League, the Lower Merion Police Department says there wasn’t anything anti-Semitic about it. It was just two guys with a beef. Read more »

Main Line Monday: Villanova’s Harriton Manor House Is a Blend of Past and Present

TREND images via Zillow / BHHS Fox & Roach-Haverford Stn.

TREND images via Zillow / BHHS Fox & Roach-Haverford Stn.

Interspersing historic buildings with new constructions, open space with sensitive site planning, not to mention an innovative stormwater management system atop a 55-acre site, it’s no wonder the Harriton Farm development earned the Montgomery County Planning Commission‘s 2007 Land Development Award.

Developed by Pohlig Builders, LLC, and designed by Michael Visich Architects and Glackin Thomas Panzak, Inc., Harriton Farm is unique in that 7 of the 35 homes that reside within it are preserved structures, such as an 1860 gothic cottage, an 1880 Victorian barn and Queen Anne stable, and Lane’s End, an 18th-century farmhouse. There’s also the Harriton Manor House, which we’ve chosen as our Main Line Monday home for today.

Originally built in 1842, the Harriton Manor House sits on a lush plot overlooking a pond. It’s a country-style residence and as such offers features like plantation shutters and a breakfast room with fireplace and wood-stove insert. It’s newer details are likely to have come about during an extensive renovation in 2003. It was then that it had flagstone decking, a lower-level wine cellar and wet bar, and an apartment above the 3-car detached garage added to its repertoire. (FYI, its terrace is two stories and comes with massive columns.)

Read more »

Lower Merion Police Say Lower Merion Police Did Nothing Wrong in Controversial Stop

Nathaniel Williams (left). Photo | Sandy Smith

Nathaniel Williams (left). Photo | Sandy Smith

The officers who ordered 56-year-old Nathaniel Williams to his knees, then handcuffed him, in a stop connected to a reported robbery at a TD Bank branch in Haverford acted in accordance with department procedure, according to an internal review conducted by the Lower Merion Police Department.

The LMPD reviewed the incident in response to a complaint filed November 2nd by the Main Line branch of the NAACP concerning the October 26th stop. The stop also sparked a protest at the November 4th Township Commissioners meeting, where South Ardmore residents added their testimony of similar treatment by police and called for reforms in police practices and police-community relations. Read more »

South Ardmore Residents Speak Out Against Police Treatment

Nathaniel Williams (left); Zion Baptist Church (right). Photos | Sandy Smith

Nathaniel Williams at the Lower Merion Township Commissioners meeting (left); the prayer vigil at Zion Baptist Church before the meeting (right). Photos | Sandy Smith

Correction: A quote in the original publication of this story was incorrectly attributed to Commissioner Joshua Grimes. It was actually said by Commissioner Brian Gordon. 

The snow shovels may still be in storage in Ardmore, but they’ll be coming back out soon, and when they do, the residents of South Ardmore would rather not use them while keeping one eye cocked for the Lower Merion Township Police.

They made this point and more loud and clear to the Township Commissioners at their regular meeting last night at the Township Building.

The triggering event that brought some 60 to 80 African American township residents and their white neighbors to the meeting was a recent incident in which township police manhandled 58-year-old Nathaniel Williams as he was waiting for a bus across the street from the Ardmore branch of TD Bank. The bank had been robbed, and police were responding to a call stating that a “black male in a hoodie wearing glasses” had done the deed.

Williams was all three. But, after he had been forced to his knees and handcuffed, it quickly became clear that he was not the robber. Nonetheless, several officers continued to hold him until a bank employee came across the street to confirm that he was not the robber.  Read more »

Main Line Monday: Yep, This Lower Merion Charmer Went For the Floor Layout Switch

TREND images via

TREND images via

Well, looky here! Is this a thing with Main Line homes we weren’t aware of? Sure, we’ve seen new constructions try out this layout switch before, but rarely have we spotted this in an older residence. In any case, we kind of like it: this circa 1900 Lower Merion home has its living area and kitchen on the second level, while three of its four bedrooms on the main floor.

Not to worry, though. Its old and new features have been commingled in such a way that deem it a charmer through and through. For example, though renovated in 2011, the historic home managed to keep its original hardwood floors and its entrance hall boasts Old World wainscoting. Upstairs, the main living area offers cathedral and beamed ceilings, recessed lighting, and a kitchen with concrete counter tops and built-in cabinetry refrigerator.

But the apple of our eye? There’s a plank wood wall made of reclaimed barn wood in the family area and the master suite – also on this level – appears to have a similar feature.

Read more »

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