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246 Bowman Ave

Date of Construction: 1920-6
Original Architect:
Original Owner: E. J. Hedden
Description of the Resource: Developer E. J. Hedden built this Tudor Revival mansion between 1920 and 1926 and sold it to famous musician Josef Hofmann between 1926 and 1927. Hofmann was a musical child prodigy who continued on to become a renowned pianist and successful inventor. In 1924 he became the first head of the piano department at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and eventually became the conservatory’s director from 1927 to 1938. This promotion coincided with 1927 alterations and additions to the house. Hofmann hired the firm of Hahn & Baylinson to carry out interior renovations and the additions of a garage/workroom with roof terrace above and great hall with terrace and conservatory. The great hall had teakwood floors, walnut paneled walls, cove lighting, walnut stairs and ornamental wood cornice. The house had lavish detailing and amenities such as a gymnasium and billiard room with secret doorway, a Belgian black marble fireplace, wood paneled walls, built-in bookshelves, terraces, a carved wood and stone fireplace and a grotto with pool and stone steps and balustrade leading up to the new roof terrace. Hofmann also commissioned ornamental ironwork for a large gate, dining room door, library door with sun, bird and floral motifs and the great hall handrail with iron G- and F-clefs. The exterior of the mansion is equally sophisticated with stone sills and lintels, stone finials and panels of fieldstone surrounded by dressed stone mouldings. Hofmann sold the property to Harry M. Buten in 1941. Buten was a Wedgwood scholar, writer and collector, and in 1957 he converted the mansion into the Buten Museum of Wedgwood. The museum displayed over 10,000 pieces of Wedgwood and hosted lectures on the collection. (10/2012) Buten Museum of Wedgwood established 1957 by Harry M Buten contains 10,000 examples of Wedgwood plus library and museum in 20th century house once owned by pianist Josef Hofmann (Toll 1478).
Class: 2
Street Classification: Secondary
Name of Local Historic District: Not in a local district
Name of National Historic District: Not applicable
Reviewed By: Historical Commission
Inventory Index Number: MS025

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