Welcome!

There is a house in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania that is over 300 years old. This farmhouse, set back from the street stands on a heavily wooded lot of several acres.

Because of the changing demographics of the area, an out-of-state owner, and the location of the house on the property, this significant influence on our locale has been forgotten.  This architectural time capsule may be the only one of its kind in this area, due to its extraordinary and unique blend of styles. It has been altered considerably over the three hundred years of use and what now exists is a complex structure built and rebuilt as demands upon it changed and expanded. The growth of the family in size, wealth, and prominence has been significant. By shifting attention from purely architectural evidence to the history of the families who owned the house, clues to the size and use of the house might be found.

Architectural evidence alone is sometimes conflicting and it is not the purpose of this report to affirm indisputably certain dates of construction and physical appearances. Rather, the purpose is to coordinate the architectural evidence at hand with the historical evidence that has been researched up to now, in order to gain a clearer picture of the history of the house as a whole.    Comprised of the original section and three separate additions, the house represents four different architectural eras.

The original 17th century section built by Everard Bolton, a Founding Father of Cheltenham, is a Quaker Plain style. The first addition was built c. 1790 by the Jones family, who later became activists in the Hicksite schism. The second addition a Second Empire style, was built in 1850 by the prominent Haines family, as well as the fourth and final addition built in 1891 in a Late Victorian style.

This property is part of the Haines family’s trilogy of historic sites, two of which, Wyck and Grumblethorpe, are located in nearby Germantown. At the time of the Civil war the site was significant to local commerce as the family, who were prominent horticulturalists, established the Cheltenham Nursery here. Several historically recognized rare plantings still thrive on the property today.

14 Responses to Welcome!

  1. Hi Ellen,

    Just wanted to say it was nice to meet you when I showed up to take pictures of the house. I really hope they save it before it’s too late. Amazing place.

    -Ethan

  2. Marita Krivda says:

    I drove up the old driveway beyond the old Wissahickon Schist walls into the other world of the Heidelberg Kerlin Farm. How majestic it looked even with its roof collapsed in the rear. Its situation on the land is stunning facing a series of rolling hills with high majestic trees. The front porch has overgrown vines over its trellis like Victorian style porch. It has great beauty even in its ruined state.
    I have known that a few prominent individuals have stepped in since Christmas week to try to save the home. I hope that 2011 brings a rebirth to this property and its grandeur will be slowly uncovered again in a restoration. The trees on the grounds are so glorious and their parklike setting should be broughts back for all to enjoy in 2o11.
    Can this not be on someone 2011 TO DO LIST and New Year’s Resolution –
    2011 Restore the Heidelberg Kerlin Farm and I would add Haines Family Homesite…

    Thanks to the angels that have stepped in so far to stop the eminent demolition.
    Marita Krivda Poxon
    Historian & Writer from neighoring East Oak Lane.

    • Gerry Beck says:

      My husband lived at Kerlin since age 8. Ck. Court House deeds, His grand parents Bowker, Mrs. Bowker’s sister, Julie McLaughlin, Hence “Kerlin”. What is the status of the demolition or restoration. In it’s present condition (and we have looked it over recently) it will take quite a considerable sum. My sister-in=law’s wedding reception was held there, and our children played there. The trees were never there, but grew up as the property became abandoned by the final owner, my husband’s aunt who is still living. There was a greenhouse built by the Haines where my mother-in-law grew her orchids.
      Anxious to hear from you with accurate info., we have been told of many rumors.

      • John Shuman says:

        I would like to get in touch with Gerry Beck, as I knew her brother in law, Hughie Beck Milner. I spent many a weekends in the house as a teenager ( 13-15 ), and have many fond memories on the farm. Thank you

      • . says:

        john, Gerry is my wife, how are you it is great to hear from you. Give me a call my phone # is 215-322=1065 I live in upper Southampton.
        really looking forward to speaking to you. Hugh D. Beck

      • . says:

        Gerry is my wife , and i have many fond memories of you John. what a surprise this is. where do you live. I live in upper Southampton my phone # is 215-322-1065 give me a call , I would like to hear from you.

      • Nancy Rowland Durchsprung says:

        Gerry,
        Do you know of a Teddy Rowland who lived in the house with his mother in the 50’s and attended Cheltenham Elementary School? A friend of his, Bruce Lorich, is looking for him. Do you know what may have happened to him?

  3. clare says:

    I’d love to speak to the person that just purchased this house. I live down the next block. Can it possibly be restored to a a working farm, a historic museum, or something comparable to its unique value? I walked in yesterday. The fence is down. I could only stare at the front door and imagine. If these walls could talk. It’s like the white house downtown. It deserves its history made known.

    Please advise.

  4. Pete LaVerghetta says:

    Where were the preservationists before Christmas 2010? The property has been for sale for years, now at the eleventh hour there is a tenuous plan to save the place? Did the collapse of the real estate market make it less attractive to developers?

  5. Here is a shot I took of the bathroom. I’ve put my own artistic touch as I do with all of my images. Thank you for creating a wonderful resource for this historic property. :)

    Scott Frederick

    http://www.scottfrederickphotoblog.com/2011/01/14/fixer-upper/

  6. Traci Law says:

    I was wondering if there is a contact person for this site? I work for a show that combines urban exploration with paranormal but all with the goal of raising awareness for funding for each site we go to. We are a small show with a small crew (no more than ten). If someone has a contact please let me know.

    Thank you.
    Traci

  7. Steve Nyland says:

    Great work!! I will never forget being there.

  8. DJ says:

    Sad news to report- The house was demolished today.

  9. Pattie Bernardo Shaw says:

    I just discovered the reports on this house built by my 8th great grandfather in 1682. And now I know the end of the story and want to cry. When will people wake up and realize the value of our history. If you have anything like this in your past please be an advocate for preservation.
    Pattie Bernardo Shaw

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