The Secret Lives of Wasps: Of Argyles and Ardrossan
1732: The State in Schuylkill club is founded. Fish House Punch, its official drink, is created to lubricate the meetings. (It is said to be responsible for the blank pages in George Washington’s diary.) Recipe: 1 c. extra-fine sugar; 1 liter brandy; 1 bottle dark rum; 2 c. lemon juice; 1 1/2 c. peach brandy;
1 qt. club soda. Mix all ingredients except club soda and chill several hours; just before serving, add club soda. Serve in punch bowl and garnish with orange slices.
1748: The Assembly Ball is assembled. Attendees are born into it.
1834: The Philadelphia Club, elite men’s retreat, is founded.
1854: Wicket enthusiast William Rotch Wister forms the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
1865: Merion Cricket Club arrives, soon to be moved into its landmark Frank Furness-designed quarters.
1873: Pennsylvania Railroad president Henry Howard Houston begins developing Chestnut Hill; his descendants still own and rent out more than 100 properties in the area.
1880: The Pennsylvania Railroad lays the track for the Main Line out to Paoli, and forces its executives to move to the rural areas it runs through.
1896: The Devon Horse Show is created, to spur area farmers to improve their horse stock.
1913: Federal income tax is introduced, to the chagrin of many a Wasp.
1918: Colonel Robert Leaming Montgomery falls off a horse while hunting in Villanova and decides to build a house there, naming it Ardrossan for his ancestral Scottish village.
1920: Thacher Longstreth is born. Argyle sock-makers rejoice!
1920: Prohibition is introduced; Wasps completely ignore it.
1922: Hope Montgomery becomes the most famous debutante ever to grace Philadelphia society, at the Assembly Ball held at the Bellevue-Strafford.
1924: Hope Montgomery marries railroad heir Edgar Scott.
1925: The Merion Square Stagecoach, which runs between Gladwyne and Ardmore, is discontinued. (Everyone now has cars.)
1930: Art Deco outdoor mall/Wasp mecca Suburban Square opens in Ardmore.
1940: The Philadelphia Story is released.
1960s: Wasp Henry McIlhenny revives Rittenhouse Square as a Wasp gathering spot when he combines three townhouses into a rambling mansion, fills them with Impressionist masterworks by Degas, van Gogh, Matisse and Cézanne, and throws parties that are still talked about today. Guests include Wasp icons such as Princess Margaret of England.
1986: McIlhenny leaves his priceless collection of art to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
2004: A Lilly Pulitzer freestanding boutique opens in Suburban Square. Pastel strapless shifts for everyone!