Delaware County Mid-Century Modern Homes

 I want to thank Delaware County Researcher Alan Higgins for his shared passion for these homes and his careful research on the background information on the modern homes of Delaware County. 

Edwards & Hoffman 1931: Smedley Butler Residence Newtown Sq Pa

partnership of E. Nelson Edwards and Edward Fenno Hoffman

constructed for General Smedley D. Butler and his wife, with blue gray stucco and black steel casement windows

1938 Theodore V. Hetzel Residence (760 College Ave Haverford Pa)  International style photo to follow

George Daub 1947: Birch Knoll (more information on Daub)  Newtown Sq Pa

The home was built for William Butler. It was the largest and most recent home built in the Moderne style in the Philadelphia region. At almost 5000 sq. ft., in 1947 it was quite a sensational home.  This home has undergone an authentic restoration with Peter Zimmerman, AIA.

Other Moderne Homes built near Haverford College

next 4 photos are of another great early modern Del Co home

Alfred Clauss 1947: the architect's own home (History Page 2) 
Clauss stayed in home until late 90's Alfred along with his wife Jane did much of the actual labor during the contruction of this home over a 3 month period.  The lower level has a family area open to the dining and kitchen area.  Clauss designed the large picture windows to slide horizontally well before this type of window was available commercially more information on Clauss


Black and White photo form the Architectural Exhibition Yearbook 1950, orig photo Courtland V.D. Hubbard found at the collection at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia

1948-54 Louis Demoll, personal residence

The home designed by Louis Demoll for his family of 5 children was constructed of redwood and cinderblock.  The living/dining area was divided by a large stone fireplace and had a wall of floor to ceiling windows.  Today the cinder block has been covered with stone and the windows appear smaller than the originals. 

John T. Grisdale 1949: personal residence

1949 photo from Architectural Exhibition Yearbook 1950, original photograph by Courtland V.D. Hubbard found in Athenaeum of Philadelphia collection

There have been only minor changes to original structure except 2nd was floor added for additional bedrooms in the rear portion of home. Stone chimney was added after photo above and a few additional feet were added on the right side for support for the 2nd floor addition. Other details such as the corrugated metal on the overhangs have been preserved. Second photo is of rear portion, rebuilt at time 2nd floor added.

Alfred Clauss 1950 Crum Creek Cliff Retreat (never built)

Joseph C. Didinger 1950 Personal Residence, Glenn Mills Pa

original B & W photo form the Architectural Exhibition Yearbook 1950, found at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Norman Rice 1950 Swarthmore more information on Norman Rice

Norman L Lee Residence 1950 Upper Providence Pa ( 410 Sany Bank Rd)

1950 John Dickey & William Price the Milken Residence

The Milliken residence desigend in 1950 by John Dickey and William Price.  Note the woodwork by Wharton Esherick.

 F. Harry Milliken a researcher at Houdry Process Corporation and his wife an artist admired the work of Wharton Esherick and asked the sculptor to design the interior of the home they were designing.  Milliken did most of the construction himself. He considered his home an experiment and worked with early ideas of solar heating.  Heating was enhanced with a system of pipes in the back yard that were rotated for the sun. He also sandwiched walls of plywood, cork, and stainless steel hung from steel beams which were wired with magnesium anodes to prevent rusting.
The bedrooms for the 3 children, and the Millikens combination studio-bedroom all had a solid window wall with sliding doors. The bedrooms and kitchen are a blend of copper and wood(designed by Esherick) with foot pedals to turn water on and off.  This information was found in a an article in the Delaware Coun ty Daily Times home of the week section  from March 17 1956

Frank Weise 1952 Eisenbud Residence, Swarthmore, PA

additional information on  more information on Frank Weise

Frank Wiese 1952-55 Klein Residence Havertown PA                  Ted Agoos: addition                  (more information on Weise)

Robert McElroy 1953  The earliest home I know of built by McElroy in the region

Kenneth Day 1954-1958 Peter Dechert House more information on Day

Alfred Clauss and son Peter 1954-59: Smaller but similar to 1947 Clauss home
Both homes feature an internal ramp as seen from exterior photos.


Louis & Henry Magaziner  1955  Balin Residence
This home for Dr. Benjamin R. Balin originally was on 2 acres overlooking a waterfall on Crum Creek.  The exterior was built of mahogany and brick was 90 feet long and 35 deep. Richard Bressi was the builder.  The kitchen ceiling peaked at 30 feet (center portion of home) and at 17 feet in the step down living room. Multiple flagstone patios were included in the design including unique cantilevered steps off the master bedroom.

1956 Dana Residence George William Grim                      


Willian Dixon Shay 1957 Coleshill Subdivision
Twenty acres, once the estate of Howard Cooper Johnson, developed by Architect William Dixon Shay into one-acre home sites. The inital concept was to have all the homes in the group be of modern design.

this is one of the 4 homes of the group the Lippincott Residence by H. Mather Lippencott 1957

also in the group the Bellas Residence of stone and redwood by T. Willbur Pullman 1957

the White Residence ( a white box) by Charles Cummings 1957

Arthur B White 1957 Personal Residence
The home has been maintained in incredibly original condition!
rear view

rear/side                                           front


This article on the home is from the Delaware County Daily Times April 24th 1965 found in the home of the week section  "Contemporary living in a one door house makes life comfortable and convenient for the Arthur B. White family. The house was designed by White, a partner in a major Philadelphia architectural firm, in 1957. Built of structural steel, glazed grey brick and glass with aluminum trim, the home is one of the modern ones which will be opened to the public Saturday for the Haverford Heritage Day Tour. A single front door at the top of flagstone stairs leading to the elevated main level of the house is the only door on that level. There is an exit from the basement area too but the Whites have discovered that just one door is insufficient. According to Helen White, it's a
 lot easier to have youngsters with dirty shoes tramping through a back door, so they plan to create one in the near future. The white marble trim around the front door and the flagstoned entrance way will be repeated at the opposite side of the square house. The lack of doors from one room to the next is a source of intrigue for all youngsters who visit the house, Mrs. White said. They take great joy in running completely around the perimeter of the place from one room to the next. Utility is a built-in feature of the house. For instance, acoustical tile is used throughout, even in the bathrooms and kitchen and the tile has not suffered any deteriorating effects from steam or dampness. A storage area that divides the living-dining-kitchen areas from the girls' bedrooms is a complete wall of white formica cabinetry. Full length doors without handles give the appearance of a paneled wall. The open living-dining area includes a predominance of African cherry furniture, which White designed. The dining room table is built around a single pole which is built into the floor. Absence of table legs gives added freedom. Art also is part of the house Paintings have been installed in White-designed frames that project from permanent wall fixtures that make them lilt-proof. A most unusual bit of decor is the artistically decorated stairway wall which is covered with a kind of montage of paintings. Furniture throughout the house is limited to just what is needed. There are no furniture suites as such in evidence. Bedrooms have built-in storage space. For instance, the bed in the master bedroom projects from a long, buffet-style cabinet that serves as the main storage unit in the room, closets with shelves also serve for storage. The White home is situated  one-half acre Jot which has been landscaped by the occupants to suit the architectural style of the structure. Members of the White household include two daughters, Karen 12and Lisa 8 and a siamese cat."

Arthur Tofani 1958 D'Onofrio Residence

As described by Arthur Tofani in his presentation to the D'Onofrio's in 1958 "powerful,curving walls of local stone, deeply rooted to the earth, carring a wing like roof whose form, the result of long study of developed forces,permits support at almost any point. Under this crisply graceful shelter, spaces could be disposed freely. Gone is the constricting formality of the recent past. Space becomes more  an exciting entity that is allowed to exist purely for the pleasure of experiencing it."  The incredible curving roof of this home is a true one of a kind.  It draws your eye out in every direction and it truly feels as if it is floating above.

1959 Pasqual T Astore won award from the AIA 1961

1960 George William Grim personal residence, Grim worked with Vincent Kling & Associates starting in 1956

Irving Stein 1960: Wachs Residence (more on Irwin Stein)    

This is the 3rd of three homes in the Philadelphia area that Stein designed in 1960 with this diamond shape roof.  This home was built for Dr. Morton and Elsa Wachs who still reside in the home. This home has features often found in other Stein homes including cove lighting providing indirect perimeter illumination throughout the house, stairs with shallow risers and wide treds, built in sofa in living room, and a characteristic 3 sided fireplace between the living and dining room.  Evening photo by Betsy Manning

1960 Harry Simon Berg  /Berg also designed additional home in Wynewood are in the 1950's

1963 Jack Swerman the Schwartz Residence

 1963 Jack Swerman the Lippman Residence


Robert McElroy (approximate 1965)one of a number of this design built during the 60's.  The overall plan of these homes is very similar, but custom changes can be found, garage location varies based on lot, and there are 2 basic sizes.

1967 Hershock Residence by Edgar Robinson

1967 Architect,Edward Robinson /Builder Kazanjian Builders       

after 2009 Addition to above structure by architect Paul Bloomfield




1969     Developed by Robert Bruce Balbirnie with Builder Kazanjian Builders                                                       

Robert McElroy 1983: one of the last built in his trademark style

Builder on this also Kazanjian Builders as with some of the other late 60's modern homes above

Wesley Wei  1999


Overview of Philadelphia Area Mid-Century Modern Residential Architecture  (below on this page)   Photo overview   followed by brief written overview of Philadelphia mid-century architects  .

Time Line  of area modern homes from 1930's to today
 Mid-Century Modern Homes
Architects Who Designed Mid-Century Modern Homes in the Philadelphia Region    
 photographs of the regional homes designed by each architect are included
 Allan Berkowitz  Louis Kahn  George Nakashima
 Edward Bernstein  Vincent Kling  Richard Neutra
 Robert Bishop  Thaddeus Longstreth  Norman Rice
Frank Boyer  William Lescaze  Paul Rudolph
 Marcel Breuer  Joel Levinson  Galen Schlosser
 Armand Carroll  Thomas Mangan  Harry Sternfeld
 Albert Clauss  Irving Maitin  Irwin Stein
 Nathan Cronheim  George Mebus  Oscar Stonorov
 George Daub  Ehrman Mitchell  Frank Weise
 Kenneth Day  Newcomb Montgomery  Frank Lloyd Wright
Agoos/ Lovera LaVardera, Greg Re:Vision Architecture
Bloomfield and Associates M. G. Leach Rosenblum, Martin
Bower Lewis Thrower Metcalfe Architecture Stanev Potts
Culbert, Doug McDonald, Tim/Onion Flats Tarantino Studio
Erdy McHenry Moto Design Shop Verner, Steven
Interface Studio QB3 Webber, Brett
Jibe Design Michael Ryan Architects Wesley Wei Architects
Kieran Timberlake Rasmussen/Su Wesley Architects
Krieger & Associates
Wyant Architecture


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