The First 300

Ashbridge House

The Ashbridge estate in an early 1900’s photo.

Built of multi-colored field stones with Georgian period proportions, Ashbridge House was erected in 1769 by Rees Thomas III and his father, William. A datestone above the present front porch, marks the event with their names and their wives’ initials: “E” for William’s wife, Elizabeth and “P” for Rees’ wife, Priscilla. The house rested on part of an original land grant of 625 acres purchased by the grandfather, Rees Thomas after 1683.

By 1845, George Dunn had purchased the house and 155 acres. Five years later, Peter Pechin bought the property at “public venue.” Pechin’s daughter, Rebecca Emily, inherited the farm and married Joshua Ashbridge. The Ashbridges subsequently purchased other nearby acres from the Thomas heirs.

Around 1863, Joshua gave land for a passenger station to the Pennsylvania Railroad to be named Rosemont. Through the generosity of their daughter, Emily Ashbridge, the house and grounds were left to Lower Merion Township in 1940. The grounds and specimen trees are a memorial to the soldiers of World Wars I and II who were from the community.

The story of Ashbridge House parallels the stages of growth in Lower Merion Township. From large holdings of Welsh Quaker settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries, the land has systematically been divided by subsequent generations. A few estates, such as Ashbridge, are now prized for their open space and their use by the whole community.

Ashbridge today.