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549 Bowman Ave

Date of Construction: 1925
Original Architect: Walter Smedley
Original Owner: Lower Merion Township
Description of the Resource: The Merion Public School, now called Merion Elementary School, was built in 1925 by architect Walter Smedley. The original fieldstone school building has intersecting gable-roof wings off of the side-gabled front section. A central square tower with pillars elements of limestone twin served as the entrance; above the Tudor-arched doorway are strips of windows with stone frames, panels and transoms. The parapeted gable and large stone chimney of the central section of the school peek out behind the tower and is echoed in a smaller parapet with narrow windows and stone pillar that extends from each side of the tower. Each wing has overhanging eaves that cover the large windows that cover the front (south) fašade, and stone pillars cut into the eaves at each corner of the building. The next architect to work on the design was Ralph E. White; White added a large wing to the rear of the building in 1928, creating a central courtyard. The school was included in Lower Merion School Districts 1943 conversion of all buildings to coal heat, and the alterations to equip the building were carried out by Savery, Scheetz, Gilmour and Associates. The central courtyard was filled in and a large flat-roof addition was constructed off the east side of the building. Alterations and additions were carried out in 1971 by Ewing, Cole, Erdman and Eubank. In 2003-2004, the school underwent major renovations and a large addition as part of a district-wide modernization program and the updating of the library, computer facilities, network systems and mechanical and fire alarm systems won architects Kelly/Maiello a historic preservation award from the Lower Merion Township Historical Commission. (10/2012)
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: MS067

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