Where the Main Line got its start: Historic Overbrook Farms opens itself up to you on its annual house tour May 7. | Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0
The Main Line actually begins on the Philadelphia side of the city line,in the historic neighborhood known as Overbrook Farms. And on May 7, you can see how the birthplace of the Main Line is faring now on the Overbrook Farms Club’s annual House Tour and Tea.
Laid out in 1892 as a residential suburb for the well-to-do, Overbrook Farms attracted some of the city’s most successful industrialists, businessmen and politicians from its outset. Its huge architect-designed homes remain hot properties to this day, and the neighborhood’s status as a National Register historic district means its character will likewise be preserved for the future. Read more »
7012 Woodbine Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19151 | TREND images via Realty Mark Associates
You may recall that the attorney for embattled Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams asked to fire his client because he was worried he wouldn’t get paid.
You can help ease that lawyer’s fears by buying Williams’s lovely home in Greenhill Farms, which went on the market on April 25th.
The agent fudged the location a little, figuring (probably accurately) that more people would be interested in an Overbrook Farms home than one in the neighborhood directly to the west. But this handsome rustic Colonial built in 1947 can be had for less than it would cost you to buy into Overbrook Farms, and it has many of the features that make homes in that neighborhood so desirable, plus a few extras. Read more »
6401 Church Rd., Philadelphia, Pa. 19151 | TREND images via Keller Williams Realty
We tend to think of the open plan home as a modern (or modernist) invention.
This elegant Tudor Revival home on one of the nicest streets in Overbrook Farms, designed by noted architect Charles Barton Keen, dates to 1926. Yet Keen had a keen sense of things to come when he laid out the classically inspired rooms on the inside, for while this home follows the formal design principles of its time, it also boasts features that give it an open, airy feel not commonly found in traditional homes of that period.
Take a look at the living room just off the foyer, for instance. That extra-large archway all but eliminates the boundary between the foyer and the living room. Likewise, the family room at the rear seems almost one with the up-to-date kitchen and breakfast room to which it is attached. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a standard doorway anywhere on the main floor, save for the one leading to the powder room. Read more »
All photos by Dave Ocenas via BHHS Fox & Roach–Bryn Mawr
A regular on the Overbrook Farms Open House Tour, The Geiger House is a prime example of a classic Philadelphia home that’s aged (and been updated) just right. However, that wasn’t always the case for the home that dates back to 1896. Diane Krause, listing agent with BHHS Fox & Roach–Bryn Mawr, tells us that it had seen better days when it was in foreclosure over ten years ago. She sold the “decrepit” property to its current owners, who “meticulously” renovated the expansive property over the years to return it to it’s former pomp.
And while you might swoon over the amount of land you’re getting (nearly a half acre, complete with heirloom plantings), the glorious stone building or the grand circular staircase, Krause tells us that this far more than just some pretty house: “At one time it was a bed and breakfast and also has been rumored to have a speakeasy in the basement in the 1930’s. The owners have meticulously restored the home to its original splendor and is on the National Register of Historic Homes.”
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Charles Barton Keen first appears as a residential architect in the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide 1893, which was just after he completed his coursework at Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art and Penn before that. Independently and with Keen & Mead architecture firm, he’s responsible for country estates up and down the East Coast and all over historic Overbrook Farms. This stunner in the Tudor Revival style fits that mold exactly: lavish, sprawling and built for a very comfortable lifestyle.
The home features seven bedrooms including a master suite with its own bathroom and boutique-sized dressing area. The entertaining spaces in the home — a covered porch, a terrace, a library and a dining room among them — are graciously appointed and grand enough that it’s easy to imagine the jazz-era soirees the 88-year-old home must have seen. Downstairs, a family room, a half bath and an exercise room that would rival some hotel gyms round out the private spaces.
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