19 September 2015

Saturday Spotlight-- Circa 1934 Colonial Revival in Huntingdon Valley

This week's Saturday Spotlight house is a charming little brick and stucco Colonial Revival home in Huntingdon Valley, PA.

As we mentioned in our last Saturday Spotlight post, Colonial Revival homes can be quite eclectic-- in fact, many realtors use the term "Colonial" as a catch-all of sorts to describe a home that has a traditional style but does not neatly fall into another category. The "Revival" in "Colonial Revival" is important in order to distinguish a vintage home such as this (1930s) from a truly Colonial home from before 1800.

This particular house is nearly 2,300 square feet and has a steeply-pitched side gabled roof encompassing the entire second floor, with a shed dormer facing the road, and a very tall and narrow gable above the front entry. A bit of Classic Revival is thrown in with the arched pediment over the entry door. There is a chimney at one end of the two-story portion of the house-- everything to the left of the chimney is the original house, while the 1-1/2 story mass to the right of the chimney is a later addition. The first floor is brick-clad, with the second story finished in painted stucco.


County records indicate that this house came into existence in 1926. However, my initial research puts the construction date much more likely between 1930 and 1934. This land was originally part of a 37-acre estate owned by Israel Hallowell, a banker and President of the Huntingdon Valley Trust. A personal account by his granddaughter clues us into Mr. Hallowell's parceling off of some of his land on Fetters Mill Rd around the 1930's when he was in his 70's. Israel Hallowell passed away in 1949 and is buried in nearby Jenkintown. His home still exists today at the corner of Hallowell Drive and Mansion Drive:
Israel Hallowell house, Huntingdon Valley PA

As for our spotlight house, there are no labels in the margins of the 1930 census schedules indicating the presence of any occupants on Fetters Mill Rd in that year, but by the 1940 census one of the earliest occupants of our feature house may have been a Herman Nyland, a retail manager who may have rented the house with his wife and son. The house is seen on a 1934 map of the area. While these clues do not rule out a pre-1930 construction date, I think it was more likely built in that 1930-34 range.

1960s to Present

While the earlier occupants may have rented the home, the house was owned from 1966 to 2005 by Arthur Mullowney and his wife, Anne. Arthur Mullowney was born in 1922, in Canada, and along with his German-born mother lived in Moorestown,NJ and Upper Darby,PA during his childhood prior to enlisting in the Army during World War II (not immediately clear if he served state-side or overseas). He married his wife in 1944 and they raised five children in this home. The Mullowneys maintained ownership of the house until the year after Arthur's death in 2004, with the home being sold to the present-day owners in October 2005.

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