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The Glen Castle: Much More Well-Preserved Than Joan Rivers

Historical photos courtesy of the Howell Lewis Shay Collection, Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.


Philadelphia architect Howell Lewis Shay moved to Rose Valley—then an Arts and Crafts aesthetic community—in the 1920s. You know his buildings, even though you don't know you know. He designed the U.S. Customs House, the Drake apartment building and the Packard Building, among others. He also designed the layout for the galleries in the Museum of Art. Shay designed this French Normandy estate between 1923 and 1927, and supervised every locally quarried stone set by masons. The family hosted theatrical events in their "stair tower" and piano recitals and concerts. He sadly lost his family home in 1941 after filing for bankruptcy. The current owners have changed very little, as you can see from the then-and-now photos. They did change the kitchen, though. (Everyone changes the kitchen.) And they created a 32-foot-long playroom out of an attic.

Otherwise they've really preserved the property well, including the bounty of Samuel Yellin ironwork and the fireplaces surrounded by Mercer tile. The house goes on the market June 9 for $925,000. But you can see a lot of it with the virtual tour below.


· Website: 221 W. Possum Hollow Road, Rose Valley [Prudential Fox & Roach/Scott Laughlin]