John (
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  • Philadelphia, PA
  • United States
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Sources for Roof Brackets
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Started this discussion. Last reply by Michelle Chapman Sep 17, 2009.


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"Stonebridge" - Chadds Ford, PA Photo Tour

I finagled my way into a grand Georgian Revival built around 1914 by a brewery owner and took extensive photos and video. Photos are ready now here.

Posted on April 23, 2009 at 10:21pm — 2 Comments

"New" Bungalow Under Construction

I have a vacation spot down in Maryland and the bad news is that the house burned down in 2007. The good news is that the rebuild is under way. Although I'm a Victorian nut, I'm also a big fan of the Bungalow style and have designed the house to take hints from this style. The windows, rooflines, overhangs, dormer, combo siding/shakes, and eventually the front porch reflect this intent.

Sharing an in-progress photo:…


Posted on April 3, 2009 at 10:00am

Video House Tour and New Website Launch

I've launched a new website featuring photo and video tours of historic properties. I hope to make it a collaborative site which features the photos and videos of other old home aficionados.

The first video tour is of Loch Aerie in Frazer, PA, a 6,000 sq. foot Italianate/Gothic Revival home. Please stop by.

Old House… Continue

Posted on March 29, 2009 at 10:00pm — 5 Comments

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My Home's History

"Pennyscroft" is a 3-story Second Empire Victorian built from 1886 to 1887 by Spencer Trotter in Southeastern PA. Trotter was a long-time Biology professor at Swarthmore College from 1888-1926 and he also studied and wrote on ornithology. He also wrote the book "The Geography of Commerce" in 1903. Trotter Hall at the College was named after him in 1937.

His father was a listed animal and landscape painter, Newbold Hough Trotter, by which we have several paintings in the home that we have stumbled upon and purchased. The most notable painting is one of General Sherman on his horse during the Civil War and known to have been owned by the Sherman family as I have a signed letter from his son dated 1913.

The house has 13 rooms and a surprising 10 fireplaces, but only one that we have lined to use. The exterior is entirely granite (about 10 inches thick), save for the window and roof trim. I have the original mechanics lien from 1887 which shows the granite came from Trenton, New Jersey and cost $2,500 to purchase, deliver, and install. I can't imagine the horses pulling that much granite from 53 miles away.

The peculiar thing about the house's history is that it appears that Spencer Trotter may not have lived in the house after it was built or certainly not for long. It appears he lost it to the bank in 10/1887. There is no record of ownership other than by the bank until 1900 when his mother, Annie Trotter bought the house two years after Newbold died. Spencer inherited his house back after Annie's death in 1911. Imagine getting the house you built 24 years after you built it.

I have several pictures of the home from the 1930's and have spent some time with one of the prior owners who first moved into the home when she was 1 year old in 1925.

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Comment Wall (2 comments)

At 3:33pm on March 6, 2009, Phil said…
What a house. I love the tower.
At 4:50pm on March 6, 2009, John Rodgers said…
your home is absolutely beautiful. I think its the first second empire victorian I've seen made out of granite.

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