Since then, approximately 160 acres have become part of the Radnor Township Park System.
Every Thursday, we'll send you ways to help you live better and stay connected while we’re social distancing. About 300 more are under conservation easements. He named the whole lot Ardrossan, after the Scottish town from which his ancestors had emigrated. "This was a family that saw part of their social role as caring about the arts and supporting them.
Set in the heart of the Main Line on Newtown Road in Radnor Township. "She had moved into Center City, rented a studio, lived above it, started a modern dance company, and lived a bohemian lifestyle," historian Wren says. ", "It's hard to know what we can do with the house," Mackie says. Members of the Montgomery Scott clan riding into the motor court at Ardrossan. Why don’t I go check it out?’” she recalls. Joan Mackie stands in front of her favorite portrait of her grandmother, Charlotte Montgomery, by Artúr Lajos Halmi in her grandparents’ estate, Ardrossan. But most of those in attendance believed down deep that they were the beneficiaries of something rare and worth preserving.” And so they did, until they couldn’t anymore. In sweet coincidence, the 1940 classic comedy film The Philadelphia Story plays in countrywide release on Feb. 18 and 21, part of the Turner Classic Movies' Big Screen Classics series. Ardrossan: The Last Great Estate on the Philadelphia Main Line. "There's always somebody dancing across the living room floor.". When he regained consciousness, a sweep of rolling hills, old-growth forests, and snaking streams came into focus. The first thing you pass is a realty office and some model houses. Tastefully, but it's happening. All rights reserved. But to understand the place’s resilience, Scott turned to kith and kin who, at one time or another, had called it home. Only four lots remain in Phase III at one of the most sought-after locations on the Main Line.
Daughter Ives was an avid pilot and equestrian. “In my father’s generation, there were powerful inducements to settle on Ardrossan,” she writes. "I've lived all but about 20 years of my life on the property," Mackie says. In 2021, the family trusts that govern the house expire, and then what? “Café society,” one set of future in-laws sniffed when their daughter married a Colonel Montgomery descendent. It speaks of social ambition, a love of things English and Scottish, and, most of all, a family of charmers and party throwers.
That speaks of how this once-nearly 800-acre-plus estate has shrunk and been subdivided. Ad Choices, A new book uncovers the cinematic tale of Ardrossan—the imposing Georgian Revival pile on Philadelphia’s Main Line—and its owners’ long-hushed secrets. Ardrossan featured prominently in the 1940 film, and according to its sale site: Hollywood lore has it that when MGM executives visited Ardrossan prior to filming, they were so overwhelmed by the estate's scale and elegance that they deemed it "unbelievable" to the American audience.
Ardrossan Farms has a variety of opportunities for the most discriminating buyer. Mackie still lives on the property, as does cousin Mary Remer. Dad flew airplanes and early helicopters (then called autogiros). This 50-room, 33,000-square-foot Georgian Revival manor home in Villanova has interior decorations by White, Allom & Co. (who worked on Buckingham Palace) and a treasure trove of art by Augustus John, Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Sully, Sir John Lavery, and Charles Willson Peale. In the years since Scott’s father died, in 2005, many of the old cow fields and horse pastures have been carved into residential lots. Mackie recalls a treasured family ritual: grandmother Charlotte's tea every afternoon, "for everybody, family, friends, whoever showed up. ", As Wren's book Ardrossan delightfully documents, this family had gusty idiosyncrasies and ambitions. It was surrounded by vegetation and ferns, and the sun would come in over the tops to the trees. This house was always two things: a family house – with children, friends, guests, and dogs – and a real party house. And people who live here seem so happy. An aerial view of Ardrossan, a three-story, 50-room Georgian Revival mansion. We all did. For a deep-dive on its architectural history, there is historian David Nelson Wren’s Ardrossan: The Last Great Estate on the Philadelphia Main Line, a rich and exhaustively researched illustrated book published in 2017 by Bauer and Dean. The Ardrossan Estate, in all its ironic beauty, hits you as you come up the winding drive. “I would come home from school, saddle up my pony, and ride a mile and a half without crossing a road,” she tells AD. The old Main Line is all but gone, yet Ardrossan (stress the first syllable) stands. She completed her studies in England, and after college, she pursued a career in journalism, much of it at The New York Times. "It was almost like a wealthy version of You Can't Take It With You," Wren says. Photo: Ardrossan: The Last Great Estate of the Philadelphia Main Line, Bauer and Dean Publishers On “steamy Philadelphia summer days, we’d head to the cold pool: a swimming pool a good quarter of a mile away in the woods, built in the ’20s and fed by a spring. At the front entrance stands Joan Mackie, 74, a granddaughter of the couple who built Ardrossan: Col. Robert Leaming Montgomery and Charlotte Hope Montgomery. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Storied Past, Enchanting Setting Over one hundred years have passed since Hope Montgomery Scott's parents acquired nearly 800 acres, known as Ardrossan Farms, which later inspired The Philadelphia Story. As for the rest, Edgar Scott III, an heir, has superintended development of select custom housing lots on the property. She takes us through the library and ballroom, pointing out her grandmother's remarkable needlepoint sofa covers and needlepoint vignettes of Ardrossan home life framed on the walls. That speaks of how this once-nearly 800-acre-plus estate has shrunk and been subdivided. And it's certainly the only old Main Line mansion with family still living there." It's a time to remember the old house. ", Mary Binney was quite the whirlwind. “And if the current plans of development are carried out, all the land except 15 acres around the Big House will be subdivided,” she says, somewhat forlornly. “But weren’t we lucky to keep it all intact for so long.”. After the diplomatic posting came to an end, her parents returned to their stone farmhouse on Ardrossan, and her father became a local éminence grise, serving as president of Philadelphia’s Academy of Music and Museum of Art.
Nearly 300 more acres are under conservation easements. He also founded Ardrossan Farms, an industrial on-site dairy that delivered milk around the area for more than 50 years; he began his herd by shipping 30 Ayrshire heifers over from his ancestral Scotland, and the herd at its height numbered 360 and more.
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