|Contact name||Scott Laughlin|
|Home area||5,976 sqft|
|Lot Area||2 acres|
Before I share the details of the house as it stands today, it’s time once again for me to share another Magical History Tour of Hinkson’s Corner in Wallingford, Delaware County!
We go all the way back to the early settlement days of America! In the 17th Century, Quakers from England purchased large tracts of land directly from William Penn. The lands (450 acres) were originally owned by Thomas Vernon and John Sharpless. The Ridley & Crum Creeks and their tributaries provided ample water supply to farm the lands. Providence Road was originally laid out in 1683 and Brookhaven Road was later established in the early 18th Century.
Several stone structures were constructed at this key intersection in the early 18th Century. At the end of the 18th Century, a wheelwright by the name of Hinkson purchased the lands around Providence & Brookhaven Roads, establishing a blacksmith shop in one structure, converting another structure to a store and a third was used as his principal residence. Due to the length of time that Hinkson owned the lands and operated commercial ventures in this area, the name “Hinkson’s Corner” stuck and is still known to this day.
The railroad line to Philadelphia was laid out in 1854 and the construction of large Victorian estates began in earnest. The two best known families that owned large estates were those of Horace Howard Furness (Brother of the famous Philadelphia Architect and a Shakespearean scholar) and Edward Gratz (a wealthy Philadelphia businessman).
Rufus Shapley (a wealthy corporate Attorney in Philadelphia) purchased all of the buildings of Hinkson’s Corner, converting one of the stores to a residence and another to a summer resort hotel. He also built a large estate called “Hildawold” in 1882.
It appears that he did not own the estate long, as Robert W. Downing (the grandfather of the first Owners of my listing!) purchased six acres for a huge sum of $22,000 (surely, for that price in 1888, it must have been a very special house!). Robert Downing was the Comptroller of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
I’ve found two interesting stories regarding Mr. Downing. In 1889, the first company to provide electricity in the area was the Media Electric Light, Heat & Power Company. Mr. Downing and his Son guaranteed to purchase all unsubscribed shares of stock to this newly formed venture. By the early 1900’s, most of the stores and houses in Media had electricity. Unfortunately, the sums collected did not cover the costs of transmitting the power, and Mr. Downing had to purchase the company’s stock. He then sold his interest in the local power company to Associated Gas & Electric Co. of New York in 1909.
Another story was that Mr. Downing had a private rail car that he used to get back and forth to work every day. Supposedly, that rail car also took all of the local children to downtown Philadelphia that attended Friends Select School!
In 1903, his grand-daughter (May Downing) was engaged to Eugene F. Caldwell Jr. and per the wedding announcement, “Mr. R. W. Downing, the bride’s grandfather, will present the bride with a handsome residence.” It is that house that I am marketing!
Unfortunately, the Architect is unknown, yet this amazing English Tudor estate property was clearly designed by a creative hand! Since its construction in 1903, this home has had only 4 Owners in its 115 year history!
Eugene Caldwell Jr. was a wealthy cotton broker with the firm of George F. McFadden & Bro. This firm was one of the largest cotton brokerage firms in the world. Mr. Caldwell travelled the world to sell the American cotton products, and he actually passed away while overseas in London in 1930. During the height of the Depression, Mr. Caldwell’s estate was worth nearly $400,000. In today’s dollars, that equates to over $5MM!
The family continued to own the house until May Downing’s passing in 1943.
The second family to own the house were the Daland’s. Elliot Daland was the founder of the Huff-Daland Aero Company. Did you know that planes were manufactured in the Philadelphia suburbs? Their plant was located in Bristol, PA where they designed and built agricultural aircraft and after WW-I, began constructing planes for the United States Army Air Corps.
The Daland family owned the property until 1978, and the third Owners remained in the estate until my clients purchased the property in 2003.
So, there’s your Magical History Tour!
Now let’s talk about the amazing house that could well be yours!
Situated on a 2 acre parcel, this elegant English Tudor estate retains all the architectural integrity of its half-timbered, stone and stucco exterior, while significantly upgraded for modern living. Behind a tall privacy wall, one enters the gates into a lushly landscaped oasis. The drive wraps around the rear to the 3-car garage or to the circular entry courtyard. A beautiful statuary fountain & pond provides the perfect focal point in the central island landscape.
You enter into a gracious Foyer with a coffered ceiling and the staircase. The powder room is tucked under the main stairs. The living room occupies the entire southern end of the home with the original fireplace (now gas fired) and a large bay window overlooking a side yard patio. Just off the living room is the massive sunroom with a built-in hot tub! Walls of windows and doors connect the inside to the resort-style pool (much more on that later!).
The dining room overlooks the front courtyard and has another large bay window & another gas fireplace. Unusual for a property of this age, the entire kitchen, family room (with the 3rd gas fireplace) & dining room are wide open to each other for great circulation & entertaining. The coat closet is tucked into 1 corner of the family room. The kitchen was renovated when the house was purchased in 2003 and has a tremendous amount of cabinetry, granite & tile counters, a large island, 5-burner gas cooktop, a wall oven, built-in microwave, warming drawer, dishwasher & large refrigerator. Tucked just to the North of the kitchen is the breakfast room (with a built-in desk) and the original pantry. One can access the rear drive through this room, or the 2nd floor & basement via the rear staircase.
As you ascend the main staircase, there are a series of 3 pairs of casements windows overlooking the rear yard. All 4 bedrooms on the 2nd floor are accessed via the main hall. The master suite occupies the entire space above the living room and a portion of the entry foyer. A huge walk-in dressing room faces the rear yard, while the main bedroom has a large bay window overlooking the front courtyard. The en-suite bathroom has a large soaker tub, stall shower and all the other necessities!
The 2nd guest bedroom is over the dining room, has another large bay window as well as an en-suite bathroom. The two remaining bedrooms share a Jack & Jill bathroom that also accesses the 2nd floor, cedar-lined laundry, rear staircase & the in-law apartment (more on that later!).
The third floor provides great additional living & storage space. There are two additional rooms that could easily be used as guest bedrooms or a home office. There are multiple storage closets & a large finished attic room. The 4th full bath is accessed off the main hallway.
Next, let’s talk about the “Tuscan inspired” man cave in the basement! There is a 2nd powder room tucked under the stairs. A full service bar is available to entertain all your friends! Stone arches line the walls with detailed paintings in the openings between. Another gas fireplace and television nook occupy the Western wall. The next room is for the pool table, while at the end of the basement is the card room. There is a door which provides direct access to the rear yard & pool area.
As mentioned earlier, there is a 3-car garage (with the original carriage style doors) tucked around the rear of the house. Over the garage is a 2-story in-law apartment! With its own entrance from the outside (or the inside in the rear hallway on the 2nd floor), it’s a fantastic space for extended family or an au-paire. There is a full eat-in kitchen, sitting room, bedroom and full bath on the 2nd floor. The 3rd floor is one huge room tucked into the roof eaves with further attic storage.
Now, let’s take a few moments and talk about “the pool”!
The current Owners spared no expense to create an island-inspired resort in their back yard! There are multiple patios for entertaining, lounging & sunbathing. One section is a large hot tub area. There is a tanning ledge on one end of the pool (allowing for lounge chairs in the water) & a shallow end for younger swimmers. A hidden grotto is tucked under one of the two waterfalls! There is a full entertainment area (under the 2nd waterfall) with swim-up barstools IN THE WATER! Within this space, there is a full BBQ & sink. There is a sitting area and a full changing room with a toilet, shower & sink. Atop the outdoor entertainment area is a custom Bear statue where the 2nd waterfall travels around and falls over the bar area. As if that’s not enough, there is extensive lighting and fountains that makes for magical displays at night! To date, I have never seen such an elaborate outdoor entertainment area ANYWHERE in or around Philadelphia!
Located directly next door to the Wallingford Elementary School and only 2 blocks to the Wallingford SEPTA station with direct service to 30th Street Station and downtown Philadelphia. In just 15 minutes, one can be at the Philadelphia International Airport!
Less than 5 minutes way, you can either drive to downtown Swarthmore (with a fantastic food coop!) or to downtown Media (with a great selection of restaurants, shops and even a Trader Joe’s in the converted Armory building!).
The Lodge is an oasis in the middle of suburbia. Come discover this stately home!
Additional Buildings / Amenities
- Carriage House
- Finished Basement
- Guest Cottage