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The End of an Era Subdivision of Ardrossan Spells End of Farming Era on Main Line

      It’s an exquisite estate. Historic houses and barns are strewn across its 311 acres. Its prize-winning cattle and horses still roam the land. This is the Ardrossan Farm in the heart of Radnor Township. After over 100 years of operations, this icon of the Main Line is being sold off and downsized.

      Once measuring over 800 acres, the Ardrossan Farm was built between the years 1911 and 1913, which makes the property 104 years old. Now the 311-acre farm is being subdivided and sold off. The division of this great estate is a reminder of how farm life is quickly becoming an era from the past.

      Some aspects of this amazing estate will remain historically preserved. An article from Main Line Today states, “The cut-stone walls that line the front of the Villanova property haven’t budged. Nor has the famous stone water tower on Newtown Road or the stone balustrade surrounding the front courtyard.”

      According to Main Line Today, “renowned architect Horace Trumbauer designed the three-story, 38,000-square-foot, 50-room baronial brick Georgian Revival structure.” This iconic mansion will remain standing on the property.

       Incidentally, this mansion and the Ardrossan Farm were the main inspiration for the 1940 Oscar-winner “The Philadelphia Story.” The film’s main setting was an extravagant farm, inspired by the Ardrossan Farm. The movie encapsulates the Main Line society of the 20th century. The film features stars Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. According to the article from Main Line Today, “it’s been said that Hepburn’s Tracy Lord was inspired by the Montgomerys’ first daughter, Helen Hope Montgomery Scott.” In time she became known as “the preeminent symbol of Philadelphia’s Main Line society.” With the subdivision of Ardrossan, the society portrayed in “The Philadelphia Story” vanishes.

      The estate is being divided into separate housing developments. Main Line Media News states, “Edgar ‘Eddie’ Scott III, one of the heirs to the Montgomery Scott family, who is handling the sale of the property, told the planning commissioners that the change from 19 building lots to six 10-acre lots in that 85.5-acre piece of the property would continue to maintain more than the 15-percent open space required by the previously-approved conditional use plan.”

      Building was approved and has begun on this section of the former farm. Radnor Township is seeking to save a portion of the land to be a park. Seventy-one acres were bought by the township for $11.6 million. If you desire to see the iconic estate before it’s developed, take a drive over to Newtown Road in Radnor.

      Sources: The Business Journals, The Delaware County Daily Times, Main Line Media News, Main Line Today

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