Jawdropper of the Week: A Renovated Beauty in Roxborough

8520 Hagys Mill Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19128

8520 Hagys Mill Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19128 | TREND Images by Drew Callaghan Photography via Long & Foster

This week’s Jawdropper is defined by the views it offers, both inside and out. Everywhere you turn you can find a breathtaking sight, be it of the backyard, the kitchen, the master bedroom or the patio. This Italianate stone home, built in 1865, has been through massive renovations and additions but still has the historic stone exterior.

One thing that is pretty cool about the layout of this house is that it’s essentially two separate wings. You can tell from the driveway, as there are two very distinct two-level portions of the home that are separated by a one-story front entryway. Since there are these two wings, there needs to be some way to connect them. This house does that with a heated cobblestone breezeway that perfectly encapsulates what you would want out of an old home with modern renovations. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: From the Valley to the Ridge in Roxborough

730 Spring Lane, Philadelphia, Pa. 19128 | Images from BHHS Fox & Roach

730 Spring Lane, Philadelphia, Pa. 19128 | Images from BHHS Fox & Roach

This handsome Colonial farmhouse sits on a not-quite-3/4-acre lot on a quiet street just off Ridge Avenue in the Andorra section of upper Roxborough, not far from the Montgomery County line. It’s been lovingly maintained over the years since it took its current form in the mid-1930s, but its owner says there’s some interesting history behind it.

According to the owner, Milena Davidova, this home started out as a much smaller frame farmhouse along the banks of the Schuylkill in the 1850s. An outbreak of malaria in the early 1900s led those homeowners who could afford it, including the owners of this house, to pack up and move to higher ground, house and all. The house was moved to a new foundation just off “the Ridge” on a flatbed wagon drawn by horses.

That house was radically transformed in the mid-1930s to what you see today. According to a blueprint in Milena’s possession, the work was performed by architect Robert Rhodes Goodwin for the house’s owner, Mrs. Samuel F. Houston, the wife of the son of Henry Howard Houston, who developed Chestnut Hill and much of upper Roxborough. Photos documenting the move and the blueprint of the enlargement came with the home when she bought it. (As Samuel and his wife lived in Chestnut Hill all their lives, we might guess that the home was rebuilt as an investment.)

We assume they will be passed on to whoever acquires this well-maintained farmhouse. On the outside, many of the original architectural details and the German clapboard siding have been preserved intact; inside, the original millwork and deep windows add character to a home that has been upgraded over the years to meet the needs of modern life, most recently with the upgrading of the master bathroom and two other bathrooms in 2015.

This home’s climate control and electrical systems are completely up to date, and it also features extras such as a butler’s pantry, mud room and full unfinished basement for storage. The grounds include a vegetable garden, a slate terrace and a storage shed.

THE FINE PRINT

BEDS: 6

BATHS: 4 full, 1 partial

SQUARE FEET: 4,930

PRICE: $599,999

ADDITIONAL INFO: This home originally listed for $624,000 and has had one price reduction. It has two fireplaces and a separate two-car garage.



730 Spring Lane, Philadelphia, Pa. 19128 [Mark Malfara | BHHS Fox & Roach]

The Big Reveal: First Designs of the Ridge Avenue Pocket Park

Groundeswell Design Group | Courtesy of Roxborough Developer Corporation

Groundswell Design Group | Courtesy of Roxborough Development Corporation

The landscape design gods at Groundswell Design Group are working their magic in Roxborough and the proof is in the first designs of the proposed Ridge Avenue Pocket Park, unveiled last week during a community meeting with local residents. Check ’em out in the gallery below and be sure let us know what you think in the comments!

According to a press release from the Roxborough Development Corporation, the neighborhood group working in tandem with Groundswell on the project, the park is set to have stadium style seating, a wall mural, movie area, and an “artistic entrance.” A rain garden boardwalk is also in the works, with the aim of allowing pedestrians “to experience unique moments” as they make their way through the park. Gardens and circulation paths “that create feelings of smaller spaces at the site” will also be incorporated.

What’s more, integral to the design of the pocket park are elements of sustainability. Aside from the rain garden boardwalk, Groundswell has proposed including native trees, perennials, shrubs, and grasses as soil-water-plant systems. These would be used purify potential storm water runoff from the Schuylkill.

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Groundswell to Unveil Schematic Design for Ridge Avenue Pocket Park

Images courtesy of the Roxborough Development Corporation

Images courtesy of the Roxborough Development Corporation

Mark your calendars, Roxborough denizens: Groundswell Design Group has set a date for the unveiling of the Ridge Avenue Pocket Park schematic design!

As previously reported, Groundswell was tapped to come up with a design concept for the proposed pocket park at 6170-72 Ridge Avenue, currently a vacant lot. The design is just about done and a recent press release from the Roxborough Development Corporation announced it will be unveiled to neighbors Wednesday, August 5th.

According to the release, the meeting will be held at 6:00pm inside the formerly vacant Allison Building, an adjacent structure that was rehabbed and now has two tenants. It’s worth noting the soon-to-be-made-public preliminary schematic design was shaped by neighbor feedback through a survey taken at the first community meeting and an online questionnaire.

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Headlines: Groundswell Design Group Entrusted with Next Phase in Proposed Pocket Park Project

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

Are you a fan of Spruce Street Harbor Park? Apparently, Groundswell Design Group, the firm responsible for the popular outdoor space, has been hit up by the Roxborough Development Corporation to come up with design concepts for the proposed Ridge Avenue Pocket Park, a hoped-for neighborhood green space at 6170-72 Ridge Avenue.

The site consists of parking lot and the formerly vacant Allison Building, since redeveloped by RDC and now occupied by two upper floor tenants.

PlanPhilly’s Alan Jaffe has the scoop:

Taking on the next phase of the park plan is Groundswell Design Group, a firm whose recent projects have included Spruce Street Harbor Park, Winterfest, The Porch @ 30th Street Station, and portions of Dilworth Plaza. At the meeting, Groundswell designer Rob Brady, who lived in Roxborough for three years, said the firm would bring its experience in creating “activation spaces” to the Ridge Avenue project. He and Groundswell colleague Kyle Blackwell said their goal is to gather the “needs, likes and desires” of the community and return with design concepts.

Emphasis ours.

The meeting Jaffe is referring to is the “informal community meeting” that took place this past Thursday. According to him, residents presented their vision for the proposed space so that the Groundswell team might be well informed as to the desires of the neighborhood when going about this next phase. He adds that an online survey that gauged park ideas from some 200 residents was also conducted prior to this gathering. The concepts, as well as neighborhood feedback, are expected for the next meeting.

 

Plus, Northeast Philly is getting…

Northeast Philly is getting what?? Yes, folks, we’re getting two (hey, it’s a start) protected bike lanes! From Citified:

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Wissahickon Native Plans to Preserve the Benjamin Kenworthy House

365 Green Lane, via Google Street View

365 Green Lane, via Google Street View

Here’s some good news on the preservations front as we head into 2015. Newsworks reports that Roger Ross, a 34 year-old Wissahickon native and Roxborough resident, has purchased the Benjamin Kenworthy House at 365 Green Lane– a property seen as the gateway between Manayunk and Roxborough.

It’s significant because the previous owner, Todd Joseph, was locked in a battle with nearby residents over plans to tear down the home in favor of eight units. Basically, neighbors didn’t want this  property to go the way of the historic Bunting House, which is currently a vacant lot but could’ve very well been turned into a Wendy’s.

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Pierogie Kitchen to the Side Dish Rescue

50-percent-off-pierogie-kitchen-221382-regular

If you’re still bogged down with the task of bringing a side dish to your family’s Thanksgiving meal and you have yet to decide on what you’re bringing, Pierogie Kitchen’s seasonal options may sway you towards an Eastern European flair.

Located at 648 Roxborough Avenue and celebrating its eleventh anniversary, the restaurant and store offers 29 styles of pierogies, some more fitting for Thanksgiving than others.

Among the seasonal options are Prune (butter, sugar, prunes), Blue Crab (lump crabmeat, blend of cheeses and seasoning), Kielbasa and Kraut, and Potato Sweet Cabbage (50/50 blend of potato and sweet cabbage) pierogies are available for the holidays, but old favorites such as the Buffalo Bleu Chicken pierogie and Philly Cheesesteak pierogie are for sale as well.

Pierogie Kitchen [Official]

Amazing Transformations: Adaptive Reuse of Northwest Philly Church

 All photos by Laura Kicey

All photos by Laura Kicey

Property photographer Laura Kicey has been chronicling the evolution of the former Fourth Reformed Church since 2012. First came the photo essay of church ruins for Hidden City. Think of this as the “before” shots as the church lay mouldering at the corner of Manayunk and Monastery in Roxborough. Today we get the glorious “afters” in two galleries displaying what developer Andy Thomas has done with the space since acquiring it in March, 2011.

For a taste of what Thomas was dealing with, behold a peek at what the site looked like in 2012, holes in the roof, horrifying bathroom and all.




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Dalessandro’s Versus Chubby’s

rivalries-chubbys-dalesandros

As we promised, 2014 is the Year of the Cheesesteak. And as part of the continuing coverage of the cheesesteak, we will be profiling cheesesteak rivalries around town. 

When GQ’s Alan Richman came to town to rank his ten favorite cheesesteaks, one of the biggest complaints was the omission of Dalessandro’s Steaks in Roxborough. According to Ray Didinger, who went along with Richman on his cheesesteak hunt, Richman had eliminated the Roxborough stalwart from his list based upon a previous cheesesteak visit to Philadelphia.

Sunday, I set out with a couple of friends, including comedian Chip Chantry, to try both Dalessandro’s and Chubby’s across the street. Check out the results of our first Rivalry Tale of the Tape.

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