2008

2008



Gerry, Don’t know if you remember me we went to Springfield together? Someone sent me a link to the website you had done on Whitemarsh Hall. I noticed your name and the connection to you family history sections. What a great history of Whitemarsh Hall. I really enjoyed the entire site including the pictures and historical background information. Is this a hobby of yours? Anyway, I have not lived in PA for 22+ years, now in Massachusetts, via 7 years in Chicago, via 7 years in Delaware. I do get back once in a while to see my sister who resides in Exton. Saw Ron Cohen about a year ago….trying to do some business and I stay in touch with Stu Rambo that’s about my only connections to the class of “72”. Did go back for the 30 reunion, don’t think I saw you there….I left early though. Hope thing are going well for you. Great job on the website. Check out mine if you are interested in what I am doing Regards,
Charles Collins, CFM ccollins@opgnet.com
Optimum Performance Group (OPG) www.opgnet.com
USA - Sept 16, 2008 at 11:48 PM EST


I have a great interest in historical preservation, and I am deeply impressed by this website. I fact, my fiancé and I visited the grounds this past weekend, and were deeply moved, yet gravely disappointed, that such a wonderful architectural masterpiece could ever be destroyed. Again, it looks like greed was the primary factor, corporations and developers with no philanthropic ideals and only concern for the bottom line. Certainly, those who looted and vandalized the property should be held accountable, including the Township, who apparently dragged it's feet and did nothing to protect or preserve this property. Regardless, your work should be commended, as it is a shining example of what great cost shortsightedness and greed can have on our nations historical treasures. Philadelphia, although still beautiful in many respects, could be a city of par with the grandest of Europe if not for the countless examples of needless destruction of historical buildings, which continues today. Thank you for our contribution to this effort. Best Regards,
Jason Pratt jpratt@Ikon.com
Associate Counsel
IKON Document Efficiency At Work
Malvern, PA USA - August 11, 2008 at 9:20 AM EST


Gerry, I just happened across your site today because I was just looking at my set of original electrical blue prints (yes they really are blue on a cloth type material) from Whitemarsh Hall dated August 1, 1919. I wanted to see if there was anything on the web about the structure. I was happy to see your site and all the great information you have included. I was nice to see what some of the rooms really looked like compared to the blue prints. Well presented. Thanks.
Mike BTLHSA519@aol.com
USA - Aug 6, 2008 at 9:48 PM EST


My name is Wendy Simmens Miller. I used to sneak into Stotesbury with my friends. Seeing the pictures were really fun and brought back such great memories. I now live in Linwood, NJ and haven't been back to Wyndmoor in a while. I am thinking of going back for a reunion this year. I think it's sad that the mansion is gone.
Wendy maryus2@msn.com
Linwood, NJ USA - July 6, 2008 at 9:30 PM EST


Hi Gerry, I went to Springfield High, and graduated in 1979. I know there was a serianni in my grade. I dated Grant Evans.. he would be more widely known than me probably. I really enjoyed your site on Whitemarsh Hall. I recently wrote an inspirational Memoir, and incorporated in it some stories of our mishchief at Stotesbury as teenagers. I was wondering if the photo's you have on the site are public domain, and if i would be able to use 3 of the photo's on your site in my book. I wrote once before to you, and got no response.. maybe the letter went into your spam folder. Ok, I look forward to hearing from you, Thank you,
Liz DeHaven Glass artjewel@frontiernet.net
USA - June 6, 2008 at 2:35 PM EST


Gerry, After a chance conversation with a co-worker today, I was shown your website. Only tonight did I have the chance to truly explore it. WOW!! Back in the 70's, I spent many happy hours exploring the ruins of Stotesbury Mansion. It still makes me incredibly sad today that no one could figure out how to save it. Your site is amazing with all it's photos, drawings and history. I feel like there's nothing I don't know about Whitemarsh Hall. If I can find my own photos, I will send them on to you. Thanks again and keep up the great work.
Karen Phipps Kapp76@aol.com
Glenmoore, PA USA - May 6 2008 at 9:56 PM EST


Hello Jerry, I came across your website while goggling 'SPALLONE'. My parents(Umberto and Maira) are from Capestrano Italy. My Grandfather Antonio was born and raised in Popoli. My father's brother was also Joseph Spallone. My side of the Spallone's originated in Benevento. Not sure when then moved to Popoli. I see your family tree goes back to Lino. Do you know his father's name? There couldn't have been too many Spallone's in Popoli. My father's cousin's owner a jewerly store in Popoli last time I was there. My great grandfather's name was also Joseph Spallone.
Joe R. Spallone spallone@us.ibm.com
Poughkeepsie, NY USA - May 2 2008 at 9:22 AM EST


Hello Gerry, I am an interior design student studying at Arcadia University. This upcoming year we have a thesis presentation for our final project in which we select a building and modify it to serve a purpose other than that which it originally served. I found the plans to the Whitemarsh mansion on your website and was wondering if there is some way I could get a copy of them, digital or otherwise for possible use in my project. I appreciate your time and consideration. Thanks!
kate conway kconway@arcadia.edu senior resident assistant arcadia university
Pa USA - May 1 2008 at 6:28PM EST


I noted that there are no entries posted after 2005, and as it is now 2008, I don't  know that you are still accepting entries. I had to write, however, because I grew up in Wyndmoor from 1985-1990 at 517-519 Wyndmoor Ave, in a house that, according to legend, was the home of one of the engineers for Whitemarsh Hall. As the story goes, our power-flush toilets were Whitemarsh Hall leftovers. To an 12-year-old girl obsessed with the ancient world and Greek and Roman ruins (I'm now a Latin teacher in Brooklyn, NY), exploring the ruins of Whitemarsh Hall, or "Stotesbury Mansion, " as my younger sister and I called it, was a terrifically exciting endeavor. My mother, I'm sure, got tired of driving us down Willow Grove, taking a left on Cheltenham, and heading down to the left turn into the townhouse development in which one could find the eerie, soaring, anchorless columns and the decrepit Belvedere. Thank you for your website and for bringing back great memories.
Alexandra Hewitt Durham ahewittdurham@gmail.com
Brooklyn, NY USA -Apr 20,  2008 at 7:11 PM EST 


jerry how are you its been a long time since i spoken with you this is william kelly oneill i was recently on ebay and try bidding on a auction book that end up selling for 300.00 on eva stotesburys jewlry i did not win but i did cop pictures of the auction to witch i like to give to you on her incredible jewelry.
william oneill chefwoooneill@yahoo.com
USA - Apr 9, 2008


Recently a trip to Erdenheim rekindled my interest in Whitemarsh Hall. I had been there  in the early 1970's. The beauty could be seen, even then, by anyone with a romantic nature. It was not permitted to be there and so we did not get to see as much as we wished. It broke my heart then to see the decline however the demolition photos on your site were so sad. It is sad to see the loss of such great art. Thank you for the site.
Henry henrybechtold@yahoo.com
www.henrybechtold.com
USA - Apr 7, 2008


My name is Tony Leach, my father , Nickolas Leach, worked for Mr. Stotesbury for 20 years. My father had good years working there. He would talk for hours about the Stotesbury Estate. I do not have a computer, I am using a friend's computer, who's e-mail is.
Tony Leach grany234@msn.com
USA - Mar 31, 2008


Hello Gerry, I grew up in Flourtown in the 70's and 80's. I was fascinated with "Stotesbury." I only got in there once but I'll never forget it. It was tragic to see it knocked down. Obviously so, I still think about it. I live in Los Angeles now, and had a similar feeling when the bulldozed the Ambassador Hotel. I don't understand why someone doesn't buy up these monuments of history. All the best,
Kelly Carson k_carson@sbcglobal.net SHS Class of 85
USA - 2008


I have become enamored with Whitemarsh hall when I saw a picture in the book "Philadelphia then and now" It was a picture of the back of the house and in 1980 after it had been destroyed. I then came upon the book on Whitemarsh Hall which I have read over and over again... getting deeper and deeper curious about this man and his life, his house. I'm 40 years old and grew up in a town called Collingswood. I became involved with the historical committee at age 14...I wish I knew then about WMH. When I read this book on WMH, It sickened me. I went on line and did a search and found your site. Thank god Someone appreciated this house, thank god someone documented it. I think we should figure out a way to have a movie made on this man, he was such an amazing man. my only regret is that I was too young to go explore the way you did. I did try to go today, to find some of the landmarks... but all I could find was the gate house and entrance to the house...I got lost and drove around for over and hour and a half and then had to go home to do some work at my own home! I do plan on going back next Monday and try to find the entrance to the house. I don't know why but I have a strong connection to this man and his house...I think it's just I feel like people should know who he was, and who stayed at this house. There should have been a foundation set up if not by the people then the state to save this place. It was thee place to be and was! Thank you again for your website. Kind Regards
Jon Christopher jonchristopher@comcast.net
Brooklyn, NY USA - 2008


Dear Gerry, I am in the midst of scanning into digital form hundreds of photographic slides my dad took in the 1950s and 1960s. Among all of them, near the end of this task, I finally got to his twenty or so slides of Whitemarsh Hall, photos he took in the 1950s, apparently between 1954 and ca.1958. You see, my dad worked for PennSalt (The Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company, which later became Pennwalt Corp) as an analytical chemist from about 1954 through 1965, and Pennsalt's research facilities were housed in what he always referred to as "Stotesbury Mansion" until about 1958 (when he was transferred to their new facility in the booming new research center in King of Prussia. Dad worked there in their labs that were housed in the mansion; one or two outbuildings were built in the sunken gardens for some of their more risky work with fluorine compounds, but the place basically still was maintained as an ornate and extravagantly-appointed (if not reduced, land-wise) estate during that time. The slides prove his stories of grand gardens still being maintained pretty darn well by one man and his family (if I recall the story correctly) during those years under Pennsalt's stewardship. I grew up hearing his tales from time to time and did faintly recall he had some old slides of those days but never really looked for them. Now that I've copied them into the computer and organized them, I think the images might be useful as a part of the long and storied history of Whitemarsh Hall. I have only now -- today! -- searched the internet for a history of Whitemarsh Hall and your site was the first I came upon, so forgive me if you have already covered thoroughly the Pennsalt period of history. I want you to be aware that up until his death in December 2006 my father had a rather extensive recollection of working there -- the gold fixtures in the bathrooms, the grand stairs where he and his lab partners stood up and down the steps to pack a copper coil column when they were in the process of building one of the first working gas chromatographs, the stormy night when he was back in the lab alone one evening, lightning flashing through the large windows and thunder booming throughout the manse. And, of course, he'd finally recount the convoluted tale of the demise of the estate after Cheltenham Twp neighbors' fears of the chemical industry in their midst up there at the top of the hill fed into political maneuvers, encouraging Pennsalt to leave, and ultimately creating the long period of decay and then final destruction of Whitemarsh Hall. His version of why Whitemarsh Hall was left to ruin would likely not be accepted by those who were commissioners of the township (or neighbors) at the time, but he believed the township's decision to take over the mansion was short-sighted and because they had no real ability to maintain it, they ultimately caused its demise.The images are in decent condition and in fact some of those taken in summer 1954 are Kodachromes, so their quality (color) has been maintained. Iif you are interested in posting the digital images or know of an archive where the originals would be safely maintained -- I would be glad to oblige. Please contact me and let me know if you would like the images as well as this story to share on the Whitemarsh Hall website. Better that than to waste all this history my dad shared with our family (and just let it die off with me)!
Bill Rein PlantsmanBill@verizon.net
USA - Feb 16, 2008 at 2:51PM EST


Dear Gerry, Back in the early eighties, my family traveled to Philadelphia to attend the wedding of the daughter of an old friend of my father's. My dad moved from Philly to Baltimore in the late 50's, staying in touch with only a handful of friends. He rarely spoke of life growing up in Montgomery County, but that weekend he was feeling nostalgic. We took a drive through Rydel, trying to locate the site where my dad's family home, "Westwood," once stood (the house burned "mysteriously" after it sold at auction after my father's mother passed away.) Much to his disappointment, we found nothing but clusters of new homes. The only thing that remained, oddly, were the very tall hedges that once bordered the entrance. He reminisced about his childhood, attending parties at Whitemarsh Hall, and the lost era of the "Main Line." We drove down many beautiful roads, telling stories and looking for images from my father's past. From a distance we saw the ruins of "the Stotesbury place." Dad insisted on parking and taking a walk through the grounds. We descended the crumbled garden walls, listening as dad tried his best to describe the "splendor that was" amidst the fallen statuary, the imposing silhouette of the columns still off in the distance. I was barely a teenager at the time, but was somehow transfixed - the property seemed suspended in time. We left at sunset, feeling very heavyhearted. After returning to Baltimore, I couldn't shake the images of that day or the feelings that lingered. I became obsessed, trying to find images, history, anything! Alas, the information fast lane didn't exist back then and local libraries didn't offer much. After a while, I simply gave up. I don't what prompted me to google Whitemarsh Hall twenty-some years later, but I'm glad I did - I found your website today. Thank you for your work in preserving a piece of history and for allowing me put to rest many old unanswered questions. Sincerely,
Peter Lentz lentzinc@aol.com
USA - Feb 5, 2008 at 2:49 PM EST


I was bored at work today and browsing the web when I came across your site. I was amazed at all the research you've done! The family of Sirianni is an important one to me, as it was my great-great-great grandmother's side. Her name was Carmela, and she married Francesco Mazzitello (although it is listed in the Ellis Island records as Mazziselli)... I have some history to contribute if you wish to have it. My mother is a Mazzitello and we are located in St. Paul / Minneapolis. Thanks,
Angela Brandt brandt.angela@gmail.com
USA - Feb 1, 2008 at 1:32 PM EST


Hello, My first exposure to white mash hall was a class school trip around 1972. It was in good repair and it was gorgeous. I fell in love with it that day. I went back with my friends on the weekends and we had floor plans and went into the sub basements and the kitchens and the bedrooms and coverd every inch of the place. We went in the day and night and it we loved all of it and never damaged anything. I was angry and sad when I heard about the fire and I still remember fondley the beutey and grandure and splendor of the grounds and the building. It was a transforming experience to walk the halls and gardens of that wonderful estate.
Peter Clausen PClausen@comcast.net
USA - Jan 6, 2008 at 10:47PM EST


Hi Gerry! Thank you so much for saving such fond childhood memories for me. As a small child my dad was a Hatboro Police Officer and we owned a 1956 Imperial which was a limo of sorts and he surprised me one sunny afternoon by driving right up the driveway around the circle and parked right up to the Pillars! I was about 8 and it was in the 60's and somewhere around the time Pennwalt was out of there. There was No graffiti or structural damage anywhere. Although a recall a few mutilated statues. Not a window appeared to be broken as my dad picked me up to each and every ground floor window and I got to peer in. Originally I recall right under the pillars a glass enclosure before you entered the main foyer. I recall seeing this old telephone I assumed went to the gate house. I also recall clearly seeing this long huge dining room table straight through the main room. The wrap around staircase was still thick white marble and I recall a small door under the main stair case. A door I would descend into many years later once married and the house turned into a war zone. As a child it became my reason for being and was my reason for majoring in Interior Design. I wanted to form a committee to preserve the building for historical value but I was young and had no idea how to go about such things. I took the last remaining pictures days prior to it coming down and like yourself only wish I had pictures to remember it when it was in its glory still. They don't build them like that anymore for sure, it was a once in a lifetime that unfortunately there are so few of these left to share with the future.When I have a chance I'll try to find some photos to share with you! Best regards!
lynn Ramage LynnRamage@aol.com
National Rock Journalist/author
USA - Jan 6, 2008 at 3:48 PM EST