Lower Merion Township Banner

1439 Abbey Ln

Date of Construction: 1876
Original Architect:
Original Owner: John Righter & Daniel Hitner
Description of the Resource: In 2007, the historic house underwent a major renovation and expansion. According to a 1790 land assessment, a 130 acre property with a soapstone quarry was owned by Hugh Roberts. Following Roberts’ death in 1816, the property was split in two, and Daniel Shupert bought 53 acres with the quarry. He and his offspring built a house, barn and springhouse, and operated the property until 1853. By that time, the property had grown to 89 acres and it was purchased by Daniel Hitner and John Righter. The Soapstone Farm Cottage was constructed in 1876, using the existing springhouse as the building’s core. Righter sold the property in 1890 to shipping magnate Clement Griscom. Over the next 40 years, Griscom and his descendents bought out several neighbors to amass the 130-acre property, which he called “Soapstone Farm.” It was a large operation with barns, sheds, outbuildings, livestock, and soapstone and sandstone quarries, extending from what is known today as Abbey Lane, to the Schuylkill River. A large fire demolished the other buildings, leaving only the cottage as the last remaining property of the “Soapstone Farm.” In 1951, a 5-acre property including the cottage, was sold and the remainder of the land was subdivided and developed. The Queen Anne house had a square plan, with a hipped roof and large centered gables on each side. It was 2 ˝ stories tall and four bays wide, with frame construction. The front entrance was shaded by a gabled porch supported by two posts. Today, southwestern portion of the building resembles the historic house, though much of it has been altered. (8/2012) Small frame Queen Anne farmhouse picturesque site. Was located on Clement Griscom's Soapstone Farm. (Property Atlas) (91)
Class: 2
Street Classification: Minor
Name of Local Historic District: Not in a local district
Name of National Historic District: Not applicable
Reviewed By: Historical Commission
Inventory Index Number: GL222

A Photograph of the Resource will appear here if one is available. Note: Not all resources have photographs.

© Township of Lower Merion 2002-2014