Walter Lippincott’s Alscot
Early in 1892, when his only child was 11, Walter Lippincott (son of noted Philadelphia publisher J.B. Lippincott) began the purchase of his 20-acre summer estate on Fishers Road in Bryn Mawr, between the Wheeler and Fisher estates.
Part of the Lippincott property near the corner of Pennswood and Fishers roads included the Lovell farmhouse which was later enlarged and named Greenway. A concrete walkway wandered through specimen trees between Greenway and the service buildings on the Avon Road end of the property.
During the war, Greenway was the site of frequent large parties for wounded servicemen held by Lippincott’s daughter, Mrs. Stricker Coles. Mrs. Coles won the Gimbel Award for helping the wounded and founding the United Service Club in Philadelphia during World War I. About two years before our involvement in World War II, the 50-room mansion was demolished.
Lippincott named the mansion house, Alscot, after Alverdiscott (pronounced Als-cot) in County Devon, England, where the Lippincott clan had been living since the 16th century.
Walter Lippincott’s vast Main Line estate also included a guest house he named The Annex. East of the main house was a cluster of 13 buildings: dog kennels, garage, stable, carriage house, tool house, duck house, two hen houses, a greenhouse, a laundry/workshop, a power house (used for heating the main house, still standing), Colony Cottage (still standing), and Hillside Cottage (where foreman Hatton lived). Two other buildings across Avon Road remain: Sunnyside Cottage and Haven Cottage.
In 1908, Walter and Elizabeth (Bessie) Trotter Horstmann Lippincott’s only child, Bertha, married Dr. Stricker Coles. Their wedding reception was held at Alscot. The couple lived next to her parents on Walnut Street in Philadelphia (a common wall joined the two residences) but at some point the family gave up city living and made Alscot their main home. Summers were spent at Jamestown, Rhode Island (favored by the wealthy Philadelphia Quakers over Newport) and on their yacht.
Nestled at Alscot’s back door, this was the guest house used for parties. In 1932, Dr. and Mrs. Coles’ son Walter and his bride, Frances Sadtler, spent their honeymoon night at the Annex and lived there for three years. They subsequently moved with their toddler into Greenway for a couple of years until a new stone house, Colesbrook, was built for them on Avon Road.