Weekends Getting Boring?  This Restoration Project Might Fill Then Up

Here's a Restoration Project That'll Keep You Busy

I have never been a person who likes large houses; I prefer to live in a small and cozy world. My way of thinking is that I don’t need any rooms not used on a daily basis.  I can remember visiting various friends’ homes when I was younger and seeing rooms full of furniture covered in plastic. We weren’t allowed in those rooms as they were for special occasions and otherwise, there just to look at.

I don’t need a room set aside for special occasions in my old house; I have one room that functions as a parlor, sitting room, family room, and living room all-in-one (at least I think it functions as a sitting room and parlor–I have never been sure what happens in a sitting room or parlor!) Yet, I’ve never felt I lacked for space.  However, I know that small old houses aren’t for everyone, that some people like room to spread out and not feel crowded.  If you are one of those people, you may be interested in an old house in Pennsylvania that is in need of some weekend preservation work.

An Old House That Shows You’ve ”Arrived”

Lynnewood Hall, outside of Philadelphia, needs a person or organization to save it before it meets the same fate as White Marsh Hall, another old house nearby.  Lynnewood Hall would be perfect for a growing family and with 70,000 square feet and 110 rooms you may even be able to squeeze in an in-law suite.  The old house was built about 1900 by a butcher who started making his fortune selling meat to the Union Army during the Civil War.

All kidding aside, I think the old house does deserve to be restored and used for something, although I’m not sure what.  It would be way too big for a bed and breakfast unless they made really good blueberry waffles and developed a national following.  There is a social media drive underway to contribute to the mansion’s preservation, much the same as the drive to save the old house in New York I mentioned in a previous post.

These old mansions do help define a period in our country’s history and deserve a chance

Swannanoa Mansion in Central Virginia

Swannanoa Mansion in Central Virginia

for preservation just like any other historic homes.  Unfortunately, the odds seem to be somewhat stacked against it due to the huge financial commitment the restoration and maintenance of a home this size could require.  Lynnewood Hall may manage to beat the odds, though.  There is an old mansion near the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia that was facing the same fate after sitting empty at various times during its history, and a preservation minded owner finally stepped in and purchased it.  I’ll have to say that Swannanoa is looking pretty good these days.


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  1. 4 Responses  to “Preservation on a Large Scale”

  2. Ashley
    Jan 6, 2013
    The fact that the Whitemarsh Hall was so mistreated and then demolished makes me sick to my stomach. I just recently found this blog and have been catching up on the previous years posts when I came across this one. My husband and I visited The Breakers mansion in Rhode Island a few years ago and were just amazed by it's beauty and opulence. It too had gardens and marble staircases like the Whitemarsh Hall, except on a smaller scale. I know other people pay to tour these types of places and dont understand why they wouldn't have done the same thing for Whitemarsh Hall. Or turn it into a banquet hall. I'm sure some young women would have loved taking wedding pictures in those gardens. The whole thing just makes me sick. Imagine if Europe decided that castles were cold, damp and horrible places to live and demolished them to make room for new condos and subdivisions. Ok... well I've said my piece. Thanks for sharing!
  3. Jonny
    Aug 29, 2011
    Aren't cities (aka towns, communities,etc.) supposed to evolve, buildings and homes included? The vast empty space often found in suburban mcmansions is emblimatic of the modern american consumer....
  4. James
    Aug 29, 2011
    Not many people like Iris said care too much about preservation of the roots in their communities when there is money to be made. Destroying a building and creating one that's even bigger with more intensive energy needed in order to make some rich person more rich is sad, especially to historians and old house overs.
  5. Aug 29, 2011
    Growing up on Long Island, I can remember many of the old mansions along the Sound, some of which became museums--the Phipps estate (Old Westbury Gardens), Teddy Roosevelt's home at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, and the Vanderbilt Museum, to name just a handful. It would have been a shame not to be able to experience the "Gatsby Era" of opulence, so different than the lifestyle of tract homes built on potato farms that constituted life on Long Island after WWII. In Europe, they struggle to preserve even the crumbling, drowning palazzi in Venice. It seems Americans have little patience as a people in preserving what brief heritage we have.