Cramond: Where John Grew Up- A McKim, Mead & White Design in Strafford, PA

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This is the house where John grew up. It’s located about 2 miles from Brick House 319. It was designed by the prominent architect Charles Follen McKim of the influential architectural firm McKim, Mead & White in NYC.

The three architects defined the look of the gilded age in the late 19th century and at the turn of the 20th century; they designed some of the country’s greatest buildings, most were concentrated in New York and New England. They were the most famous and successful American architectural firm of its time. Until 1887, the firm excelled in designing large homes built of shingles in Newport, Rhode Island, Long Island and the Jersey Shore.

McKim designed J.P. Morgan’s Library in NYC, Boston Public Library, Columbia University Library and the University Club, among others. (McKim was born and raised in Chester County where Cramond is located.)

McKim’s partner, Stanford White, was perhaps the most famous of the three architects due to being murdered (in 1906) by the jealous, millionaire husband of his former showgirl mistress, Evelyn Nesbit. Stanford White designed Madison Square Garden (1891) and the Washington Memorial Arch (1891).

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John’s house was built in 1886. It was called “Cramond” and remains an important national landmark that initiated the Classical Revival Style in domestic American architecture. The house was built for Daniel S. Newhall, an executive of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The house is conveniently located a stone’s throw across from the Stafford Train Station. Watch this quick video which includes a snippet about Cramond.

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John’s father who was an attorney, bought the house in 1954 and sold it in 1983. John grew up in the house until the age of 23; he had fun living in such a great, big house.

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When John’s father retired, he decided to sell the house. At the time, it was actually difficult to sell. Being an attorney, he changed the zoning. He had a buyer and the buyer wanted to open a day care center in the house. Needless to say, the neighbors were fit to be tied.

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Fortunately, before selling Cramond, John’s parents protected the home by adding it to the National Register of Historic Places.

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The day care center was in the house for years and then it was sold to The Goddard School.

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