I drive by this head-turning, well-preserved brick gate house regularly and I have always wondered about the history of this Dutch-inspired building.
It’s obvious the main estate is long gone. A modern church is set back from the road not far from the gate house, which is located just a few feet off the road.
The gate house was one of several buildings on a 100-acre estate in Wayne, PA. Roberts and Minnie LeBoutillier built a brick mansion called Panhurst in 1902. It featured a 17th century Dutch-style design with cement decorations including carved faces and ornate spires at the tops of gables.
Like many of the estates during the turn of the 20th century, it was also a working farm. The dairy cows supplied bottled milk to Wayne residents and the greenhouses were exclusively used for the production of grapes.
Along with the gate house, there was a guest house constructed in the same manner and shelters for farm animals. The estate also had elaborate blooming Japanese gardens, a pond, an amphitheater and a small Japanese-style pagoda.
The LeBoutillier’s son, Henry, and his wife, Dorothy, took over estate ownership in the early 1930s. They sold their home-grown vegetables at a produce stand down the road and delivered vegetables to nearby businesses via truck and bicycle.
So what happened to the estate? Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the mansion in the 1960s. The farm property was sold in 1975. Fortunately, the gate house survived.