Philadelphia estate in need of $50M in repairs
PHILADELPHIA — A dilapidated 110-room, 70,000-square-foot estate is back on the market, but an architect says the $20 million price tag doesn't include the tens of millions more it needs in repairs.
The 34-acre Lynnewood Hall estate in the Elkins Park neighborhood has been in decline since the original heirs sold it in 1944, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Sunday.
The home, completed around 1900, once held one of the nation's largest private art collections. In its heyday, the house was dripping with silk, velvet and gilded moldings, the rooms furnished with chairs from King Louis XV's palace, Persian rugs and Chinese pottery, and the halls crammed with art by Raphael, Rembrandt and Donatello.
But members of the Widener family, who owned the property, died or moved away. The estate was sold to an association that wanted to build a Protestant university. Then it was sold to a housing developer followed by a seminary and another church. The property went through decades of bankruptcy proceedings and was repossessed, auctioned and sold for pennies to creditors — while descending further into disrepair.
But those who have seen the interior in recent years said most of the house's fine, historic fixtures are still there, even though some of the rooms are destroyed by water damage and broken windows.
Mary DeNadai, an architect who specializes in historic restoration, said it would take about $50 million to restore the home to its former glory, but time is running out.
“If it continues to be neglected as it is, it will be beyond salvage” within five to 10 years, she said.
David Rowland, president of the Old York Road Historical Society, said he has seen possible buyers come and go over the years.
“It was always loved more by the people who'd never been inside it than by the people who actually lived there,” Rowland said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pennsylvania medical marijuana supporters hold Capitol rally
- Retiring circuit judge, a Carnegie native, ‘helped tutor generations’
- Newborn born to Philly woman fatally wounded by stray bullet dies
- ‘Racy’ emails could stay hidden under Pennsylvania open records law
- Troopers hurt while busting alleged drunken driver
- Centre County entrepreneur with ‘new ideas’ named to LCB board
- Activist spotlights nation’s food waste with Pa. stop
- Man charged in slaying reported voices, police say
- State police trooper shot dead outside northeastern Pa. barracks
- Corbett seeks to turn up volume in attempt to win back governor spot
- Savagery of ISIS stirs the grief of 9/11 for survivors