1543 Monk Rd

Year Built: 1928-1931

Comments: This large stone mansion was constructed in 1928-31 for Rodman Griscom, son of Clement Griscom who owned the nearby Soapstone Farm and Cedar Crest estates. The complex was designed in an elaborate French Eclectic style by Edmund Beaman Gilchrist. Subsequent owners include John Thompson Dorrance, Jr, who was heir to Cambell Soup, and John and Lynn Foster, founder of an investment advisory firm, among many other endeavors.
   Beginning at the driveway, the visitor passes through a set of entrances posts down a straight wood-lined driveway to the entrance courtyard. A rectangular complex of one and 1 1/2 story buildings surround the courtyard, which include the garages and presumably what is now guest living space. All of the buildings have hipped roofs and there is a cylindrical tower with a pointed roof located on the building in the southern corner of the courtyard. Opposite the entrance to the courtyard is the pathway to the main residential complex. The visitor walks on a partially-elevated paved path that is flanked by formally designed gardens. Two hundred feet later, the visitor passes between two narrow 1 1/2 story buildings and enters the courtyard of the residential house. Straight ahead is the main house, which stands 1 1/2 stories tall and three large bays wide. On both ends are one-story hyphens that connect the main house to two 1 1/2 story four-bay wings that are perpendicular to the main house.The main house and its wings all have hipped roofs, two chimneys, and many arched dormers and gabled wall dormers. The centrally-located main entrance is a wide arched opening with arched doors. By passing through the hyphens and down a small staircase, the visitor comes to the rear of the property. The basement level is exposed on the rear side of the house and the land steps down in large grassy terraces. An extension off the end of the western wing is the bathhouse for the in-ground pool located just west of the wing. There is also a large pasture in the northern, front half of the property for horses. (8/2012) --Historic Inventory Class 1 no. GL227

Keywords: Gladwyne