Almost exactly a year after we sent a Preservation Alert about the Keewaydin estate’s uncertain future, we are delighted to report that this wonderful and significant historic property has been listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places by the Philadelphia Historical Commission.
This is a stunning victory for the community, preserving the historic architecture and streetscape of this estate, and engaging the Philadelphia Historical Commission in ensuring that any additional construction on the site will not detract from its historic, open character. The owners of the Main House (Walter and Robin Sommers) and the Ballroom (Nancy Dickson & Don Ratchford) have been working with the Conservancy and their neighbors for the past year to protect the three main buildings and their open space.
The Conservancy is proud to have helped the site’s owners and neighbors with this important protection, and look forward to working with Keewaydin’s neighbors and the developer of 540 West Moreland Avenue on a mutually beneficial future.
The Conservancy was able to immediately engage in this effort and remain engaged in large part because of Leadership Circle support. Thank you very much!
You may recall that a one-alarm fire struck 540 W. Moreland Avenue a year ago, and that the property quickly sold to a developer new to the area, with the intention of tearing the building down and redeveloping the site. The property, which appears to be a single-family home, was in fact built in 1899 as the “Kitchen and Service Wing” of Keewaydin. This, and the now-residential “Ballroom” property on Mermaid Lane flank the Main Home; both originally connected to the home through basement passageways and exterior archways. Read more about the property in the nomination HERE