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Monterey Historic District


The Monterey Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Portions of the text, below, were selected and adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Monterey Historic District is a fine example of a 19th century summer resort area which has retained its basic integrity. Although primarily residential in character, the Monterey Historic District contains two inns, a church, a library building, a club, and a golf course. It includes approximately 60 structures of historical significance, with perhaps 20 later intrusions, the majority of which are residential structures built on the sites of former houses or inns which have burned down.

The properties along Charmian Lane, which runs east of the Western Maryland Railroad tracks, comprise the eastern boundary of the Monterey Historic District. Beginning with "Alfheim," an Italian villa style house, Charmian Lane includes several summer houses in a variety of styles: "Red House," a small picturesque log cottage, the first summer cottage on the Lane; "Bramble Bush," a cottage reminiscent of a James Fenimore Cooper romance, the clapboard "Pink Shutters," and the stately "Charmian Manor." The Manor, built in the Georgian Revival style (c.1890) is a 2 1/2 story clapboard structure which features a two-story columned portico with gambrel roof.

Charmian Road, the former Baltimore-Pittsburgh turnpike, is the site of many of the oldest houses, inns, and way stations in the Monterey Historic District. On the north side of Charmian Road is "Wayside," a log cabin in the vernacular style, slightly altered by the enclosure of a room on half of the front porch. The Cimino House, slightly altered but still reflecting its picturesque Georgian Revival style, is set down from the road on the south side. All of the above houses are located near the site of the Clermont House, and represent an unplanned cluster of summer houses in a wide variety of styles. To the west stands the Pittman House, a small 1 1/2 story cottage which was originally an outbuilding of the Clermont House.

Adjacent to the Pittman House is the Greystone Inn (c.1850) originally a 2 1/2 story stone farm house. It belonged to the Miller family, who built and ran Clermont, and after 1900, the Inn was later expanded into a small hotel by the addition of a shingle story and wing. Across Clermont Avenue to the west is a massive stone house, "Montclare," which was constructed in a vernacular version of the Richardson style.

Although slightly later than the properties along Charmian Lane (c.1900), the structures located on Clermont Avenue, which runs south from Charmian Road, were also not laid out at random. The slope below the road is quite steep, affording views from the road as well as from the houses. "Sunnyside," the Lenhard House, and "Ridgefield," are simple houses in the vernacular farmhouse style. "Altamont," seems perched on the side of the mountain and has a walled garden, with a picturesque garden house and winding entrance drive. The barn to "Belvedere," with its gambrel roof, stands on this road.

Returning to Charmian Road and going west on its south side is the Valore House, (c.1895) built in the Queen Anne style with a cupola, for many years the residence of Ambassador Sze from China and his family.

Across Charmian Road, on the north side, are three large estates: "High Orchard," (c.1895) in the Georgian Revival high-style, with its free-classic porches; "Northwood," built about 1880, in a free-classic version of the Queen Anne style; and "Monte Vista" c.1883, also in the Queen Anne style. "Northwood" was the residence of Francis T. King, who acquired the property for the Monterey Land Company, chartered in 1885, of which he was one of the original stockholders. "Monte Vista" was the residence of Martin Hawley, also a founding stockholder of the Company, who also designed and built the Hawley Church. The church, with its stone main story and treillage in the gables, is still active.

Further, to the west along Charmian Road is the site of the Monterey Inn Annex, where 3 small houses now stand. Adjacent to this is the Dunbrack Library, built by the leaders of the summer community (c.1894), which is no longer in use. Located behind the Library, is the Dunbrack Inn, also no longer in use. Once a house, it was later expanded into an Inn with the addition of a third story of modified Second Empire form and a one-story wing. This and other Dunbrack properties are set back almost in the forest along a winding drive with stone walls. The Dunbrack House also called "Hess Cottage" or "Lepation Cottage," was expanded by the addition of a top story with a steep mansard style roof. The Dunbrack Stables may be as early as 1880. Both sections reflect the Gothic Revival style, one with a Gothic window, the other with arched windows and ornamental stone trim. Located near these buildings is a flat area, once the croquet field.

The four houses near the western boundary of the Monterey Historic District, represent a variety of styles and were constructed as summer houses during the 1890's.

Located at the junction of Monterey Lane and Charmian Road is the site of several inns which dated back to 1810. The Monterey Inn, so much the center of first turnpike life during the mid-19th century, then the scene of Union and Confederate gatherings during the Civil War, and finally the center of the summer resort colony, stood on the southeast corner of this intersection.

Monterey Lane was laid out in 1852, and located along the entire west side of the Lane, going south from Charmian Road, is the golf course which has functioned continuously since the 1890's. The Monterey Club is a low, 1 1/2 story, shingled building, and a set of tennis courts, built shortly after the turn of the century, adjoin the clubhouse.

The southern boundary of the Monterey Historic District is occupied by "Coombe Edge," one of the earlier summer houses, built in 1886, "Coombe Edge" is a 2 1/2 story frame structure built in the Shingle style. The depression on its, northern property line is said to be the end of the ill-fated "Tapeworm Railroad" from Harrisburg to various southern points, which was built about 1835. On the east side of Monterey Lane, returning north toward Charmian Road, are "Kingston," the Robertson House, and "Awani," all built as summer houses between 1890 and 1905.

Just east of Monterey Lane, on Charmian Road, are the stone entrance gates to Monterey Circle, the "Park" laid out by the Monterey Land Company after it bought "Monterey Springs" in 1885. The Land Company's area included the properties west of "Monterey Cottage," the golf course, Monterey Circle, Lower Monterey Circle, and the four properties west of Dunbrack Library on Charmian Road. Monterey Park was intended to be an ideal residential area, and the properties remain as they were originally laid out, with but a few changes. The houses were oriented to take advantage of the mountain and valley views, the prevailing breezes, and to offer privacy. Monterey Circle is a private road, very narrow, and lined either with low stone walls or hedges. Proceeding east around the circle are "Bright-Bank," in the Queen Anne style; "Belvedere," a shingled house in the picturesque Georgian Revival style. Also built in this same style were "Melbury Cottage," "Canton," "Buckler Cottage," "Ben Bonnie," "Carincroft," and Parks House.

Continuing south and then east on the Lower Monterey Circle, the Hawkins House and Smith House are in the Georgian Revival style. The Ogilby House, once used as a barn, seems to hang onto the side of the mountain; a porch on stilts was added when the barn was converted, c.1910. "Ard-Ian," is in the Queen Anne style, with a graceful porch and "Oakley," in the Shingle style, commands a magnificent view of the valley.

Returning to Monterey Circle and going north, "Ty-Mullen" and the "Grey Cottage" are in the Queen Anne style. "Overlook" presents a formal atmosphere, in the Georgian Revival style. The Palmer House is a gabled cottage of the Georgian American vernacular mood, built to resemble a ship. The Menz House is in the Shingle style, as are its out-buildings, an ice house and a carriage house. The log cabin was built later, after the turn of the century.

Significance

Monterey Historic District comprises approximately 250 acres in the Blue Ridge Summit area of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The Monterey Historic District is a fine example of a 19th century summer resort community and still retains the gracious ambience of the Victorian era. The majority of the properties and lanes were laid out around 1890, and houses still stand in the picturesque or "English" informal setting. Although the architecture reflects a nostalgic appeal for the old, vernacular "colonial" architecture, the style should be called transitional, since symmetry and colonial forms are combined with many picturesque qualities and details. During the 1880's, many people were reacting to life in the cities, and Monterey reflects a desire to create an ideal seasonal colony, far from factories and commerce.

Monterey's growth into a famous resort occurred in two stages, the first due to its location on a flat plateau on South Mountain which created a pass through the mountains known as Nicholson's Gap. The present Charmian Road was part of the Baltimore-Pittsburgh Turnpike (c.1816) which made the area accessible from eastern cities. People were attracted not only by the area's climate, but also by the fine, natural springs, both pure and mineral, around which such nearby spas as Bubbling Spring (c.1800) and, a little later, Cold Springs (now Buena Vista) were started. Monterey boasted such springs at the junction of the present Charmian Road and Monterey Lane, where an inn or way station has stood since 1810. The most famous of them was the Monterey Inn, which was built in 1848 and burned to the ground in 1941. In fact, the area's prominence as a resort really parallels the fortunes of the Monterey Inn.

During the Civil War, the Inn was run by David Miller, who also built the neighboring Clermont House. He played host to both Union and Confederate soldiers, often on the same evening, and the turnpike through the gap and past the Inn was the scene of Robert E. Lee's retreat from Gettysburg. The Monterey Inn was later central to the Monterey Land Company's plans for a summer colony in the area because it already had a loyal and prominent clientele. It was acquired in 1900 by Adrian and Thomas Hughes of Baltimore, who owned it when Wallis Warfield, later Duchess of Windsor, was born there.

To the east of Monterey Inn, David Miller built the Clermont House, and by 1870 its vistas and rural advantages readily attracted guests eager to avoid the city. Some of the Clermont's loyal guests liked the area so much that they bought land from Miller near the Inn and built summer homes of their own. The resulting cluster of houses along Charmian Lane reflects the contrasts so often present in Victorian architecture, from a stately Italianate villa, to formal Georgian Revival, to a rustic log cabin. Only an outbuilding of the Clermont remains, now the Pittman Home. The present Greystone Inn, adjacent to the Clermont property, was a stone house built by the Miller family and later expanded into an Inn.

The second phase of resort growth resulted directly from the arrival of the Western Maryland Railroad in 1873, when it extended its excursion business to its new Pen Mar Amusement Park and its 600 room Blue Mountain House in 1883. The success of the railroad's efforts to lure excursionists to such areas as the "Coney Island of the Blue Ridge" can be measured by these statistics; in 1875 there were 72,510 excursionists on the Western Maryland Railroad; in 1898, there were 558,248. By the turn of the century, the larger Blue Ridge area boasted 9 inns and about 100 boarding houses.

The railroad must also have realized the potential, and the desirability of a residential summer colony for in 1884, John Miflin Hood, president of the Western Maryland Railroad, told his stockholders:

"A movement is also in progress having as its object the establishment of summer residences at Blue Ridge Summit and Monterey, in the near vicinity of the Blue Mountain House and Pen Mar, and judging from the class of people now turning their attention that way, there can be little doubt that in a few years thousands of our city people will have provided summer houses in these near elevations, where the most favorable conditions for good health, pleasure and convenience to business are combined."

The following year, 1885, the Monterey Land Company, a group of prominent Baltimoreans, bought the Monterey Springs farm and created out of it a planned summer community. A later president of the Land Company, German Hunt, was in 1884 member of the board of the Western Maryland Railroad.

The man who acquired the property for the Monterey Land Company was Francis T. King, a Quaker from Baltimore. That there might have been some local resistance to the "boom" created by a summer colony can be inferred from the timing and price of the acquisition: King bought the "Monterey Springs" property in January, 1885, for $12,000.

The influence of the Monterey Land Company on the life and character of the area cannot be minimized. It planned not only a secluded residential area, but also activities appropriate to a summer colony of that period. Intellectual pursuits were provided for by the Monterey and Blue Ridge Improvement Association's Library, whose building is still standing. At the turn of the century, summer residents presented Gibson Girl tableaux on its stage. The small Monterey Club provided athletic facilities for golf and tennis. Its golf course has functioned continuously since the early 1890's and even attracted President Eisenhower in later years. Although the Monterey Land Company plot of 1898 indicates lots where the present golf course is, obviously the managers of the Land Company thought better of dividing up this recreational attraction.

The Monterey Land Company also wanted to be sure that its community would retain a character consistent with the original vision. Covenants specifically prohibited the sale of alcohol everywhere but on the Inn, Inn Annex, and Carriage House properties. They also prohibited, specifically, detached privies, stores and factories; and any dwellings costing less than $2,000. To further preserve aesthetics, covenants restricted buildings to within certain limits of the boundaries of each property. The Company's originators evidently felt walls were necessary, both to create boundaries and to prevent erosion on what had been farmland, for the Land Company's state charter specifies that one of its purposes is "maintaining or erecting walls or banks for the protection of low lying areas." A great many of these stone walls still stand, enhancing the picturesque quality of the narrow, meandering lanes.

Central to the plan for Monterey was an area suitable for gracious summer residences; this was achieved with Monterey Park. The properties radiate from the winding circle road, with its natural landscaping and low stone walls, and are designed to take full advantage of the expansive vistas of mountains and valleys, as well as of the prevailing breezes. Houses were built between 1890 and 1906, in various styles, including Queen Anne, Georgian Revival, Shingle style, and Italianate. Some defy immediate classification because their owners felt a certain informal freedom from "style" in designing a summer home.

As a summer resort, Monterey thrived from about 1885 through World War II, as did the larger Blue Ridge Summit area. Hotels were full; parks were attractive; the scenery impressive; the climate healthy. Even as late as 1940, about a dozen foreign embassies maintained summer legations in Blue Ridge, many at Monterey, occasioning it to be called often "the summer capitol of the United States." But by then the automobile had emerged and the railroad excursion business declined. Pen Mar Park was razed, and neighboring hotels burned, either by accident or, it is said, by "convenience." At Monterey, the Monterey Inn, so much the center of the community, burned (accidently) in 1941. The Clermont was razed. The Greystone, although functioning, is very small, and the Dunbrack Inn has not operated for many years. That Monterey has remained visually intact, and retained most of its original character, is due in part to the re-routing of Pennsylvania Route 16 from the old turnpike road to a new site, completely by-passing Monterey.

References

Stoner, Jacob H., Historical Papers: Franklin County and Cumberland Valley Pennsylvania. Craft Press, Inc., Chambersburg, Pa. 1947.

Williams, Harold A., The Western Maryland Railroad Story. The Western Maryland Railroad Company, Baltimore, Maryland. 1952.

Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Western Maryland, Vol. II. Regional Publishing Company. Baltimore, Maryland, 1968. (orig. published 1882).

  1. Sturtevant, Mrs. Albert D. and Berman, David M., Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Monterey Historic District, nomination document, 1975, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

See Map

Street Names: Charmian Lane, Charmian Road, Clermont Avenue, Monterey Circle, Monterey Lane

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