Cairnwood (3028 Huntington Pike) was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Portions of the text, below, were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. Adaptation copyright © 2007, The Gombach Group.
"Cairnwood," located nineteen miles north of Philadelphia in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, was designed in 1892 by Carrere & Hastings, architects of New York City, and constructed by 1895 as a Roman brick and limestone Beaux-Arts, French-style country estate for John Pitcairn, President of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company and supporter of the Swedenborgian church and educational system. Cairnwood' s period of significance from 1895 to 1916 represents the years of final design, construction, and use as the sole residence of John Pitcairn and his family. The nominated property of approximately 6.75 acres lies near Pennypack Creek north of the village of Huntingdon Valley on a considerable rise in a picturesque, natural setting, principally west of Huntingdon Pike (PA Route 232). The four contributing buildings are a residence, stable, garden house, and garage/residence/ studio. The latter was added in 1911 by Duhring, Okie, & Ziegler of Philadelphia on the east side of the Pike. A contributing structure is the estate wall that defines the property along the road and connects four symmetrically placed square blockhouses, a pergola, a central monumental iron entrance gate, and the stable wall. The two-and-a-half-story estate house of 28 rooms plus a chapel in the third-story turret retains interior and exterior craftsmanship with remarkable integrity. The small garden house served various functions over time as an outbuilding, but has now been rehabilitated to house the Pitcairn Archives within the original rooms of the building. The greenhouses, added by Lord & Burnham in 1898, and the adjoining garden pergola are no longer intact, but masonry walls and pergola supports remain. The stable, with five stalls and a hay transport system, includes a hall for carriages (now used as an exhibit space) and a coachman's residence, all retaining their integrity. The 1911 garage complex, designed to resemble the Carrere & Hastings architecture in style and materials, retains arts and crafts architectural features in the interior of the studio area, a chauffeur's residence at the north end, and garage spaces now adapted for communal use by students of The Academy of the New Church. The integrity of the bucolic setting, the Beaux-Arts architectural style, and quality building materials remain principally intact with four buildings and one structure contributing to the resource. Missing elements are the greenhouses, wooden garden pergola, and formal garden plantings. Modest changes were made in the mansion for fire code purposes. Setting (PLANS 1-4)
The Cairnwood estate, laid out by Carrere & Hastings in 1892, sits on the ridge of a hill in an L plan with the base of the L along Huntingdon Pike. The three contributing buildings, a mansion, garden house, and stable, are spaciously separated but interconnected by a classic design of driveways, service yards, paths, and terraces behind a symmetrically designed wall with a large, central iron entrance gate. All are integrated by the use of the same building materials and construction detailing. The mansion, sited deeply in from the road and at a higher elevation, faces south for vistas of a large rolling grass lawn and a wooded knoll. At the east end of the house a walled service area connects the building to the garden house that faces west, southwest of the entrance gate. The stable stands north of the entrance gate with its rear facade creating the northern section of the wall.
The main driveway enters through the gate on a western perpendicular axis to the highway and has two nodes. The first connects northward to the stable via a loop and southward to the garden house by a small circle. This circle links access to the service yard off the east side of the mansion, the garden house, and the former greenhouses. The second node becomes a large circle toward the south in front of the main wing of the mansion or to the porte cochere entrance. From this circle the drive also continues northward past Cairnwood and around Glencairn (National Register 1978), the medieval-style home built by John Pitcairn's son Raymond between 1928 and 1939. To the west it links with Cathedral Road and access to Bryn Athyn Cathedral of the New Church of Jerusalem located in the knoll southwest of Cairnwood.
Cram & Ferguson prepared the initial designs for the Gothic-Revival-style Cathedral in 1912 and it was dedicated on October 5, 1919. Completion of the choir and council building was not until 1929.
In 1911 a garage with a chauffeur's residence and a studio for Raymond Pitcairn was added to the complex. This fourth contributing building lies directly across from the main gate on the east side of Huntingdon Pike on a north-south axis. Since the 1980s the garage bays on the west facade have been converted to new uses and trees have been planted across the original access driveway.
The Mansion (1895) (PLANS 1-2 and 3, No.1; FLOOR PLANS A1-A4)
The two-and-a-half story mansion, patterned after the concept of a small French chateau, sits prominently on a high ridge and looks down over spacious lawns to the knoll where the Bryn Athyn Cathedral now stands. The plan of the building is notable for its use of two basic rectangular wings of different depths and heights conjoined at a 45-degree angle around a three-story tower on the south side. The narrower and lower east wing under a gable roof, with a walled service yard of the same dimensions that attaches to the garden house, lies parallel to the entrance driveway. The grander and higher main wing sits on the highest elevation and is angled to the south, adding visual interest by breaking the linear axis. The main wing consists of two sections: the highest western block under a hipped roof of slate and a lower and narrower section with a gambrel roof of slate and metal. The western hipped-roof end has north and south bay extensions and a protruding one-bay block to the west with an open porch.
Viewed from the south or from Huntingdon Pike across the grassy hill on which the mansion sits, the building is defined in the landscape by a raised veranda formed by a stone wall with a cast terra cotta balustrade that parallels two-thirds of the south facade. The wall extends approximately 40 feet west of the building, enclosing a deep stretch of lawn and concrete terracing. The wall terminates in the second bay of the east wing, and there a series of steps descend from the terrace to the lower surrounding lawn. At the far southwestern corner a square-roofed belvedere was planned but not built at the time. Remaining, however, at the west end is a small formal garden and path system off the end porch that leads to the driveway to the north.
The architectural character and color palette of the entire complex can be attributed to three main features: gray-green Vermont roofing slate on hipped gable and gambrel roofs with copper flashing; orange iron-spotted Roman pressed brick combined with rusticated buff-gray Indiana limestone blocks used as trim. On the mansion, especially, highly articulated and eclectic facades and roof lines, caused by facade projections, an arched open porch, a turret, an octagonal tower, and various window shapes, define different interior spaces and supply architectural interest. Additionally, though not readily perceived, all window glass used is glass supplied by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company.
The main wing of the house is entered from the north facade off the semi-circular driveway. The facade is symmetrically treated with protruding extensions of one bay each, topped by hipped roofs with single dormers. In between these extensions stands a three-bay section featuring the main entrance. A broad, flattened arch in the facade, accented by rusticated limestone blocks of alternating lengths, leads to an open loggia. Here another similarly treated arch and a large double-leaf oak door with ornamental carvings are flanked by two small leaded windows with transom lights. The main entrance arch is accented at the second floor level by a stone balcony supported at the ends by curved decorative stone brackets and in the center by a stone cartouche. An undulating wrought iron railing with delicate scrollwork emphasizes the balcony's horizontal line. Behind the balcony, square-headed French-style doors with transom lights are surrounded by rusticated stone blocks shaped to form protruding pilasters. These support square capitals holding a gabled stone pediment that extends above the roof edge. A flat circle outlined in relief on smooth stone lies below the peak. Two oculus windows in the attic roof above flank the pediment.
At the second floor level of the main block the windows are double-hung sash of three-over-three or six-over-three lights. On the first floor the windows are either French-style casements above wooden panels or French-style doors. The west end of this block repeats the arch effect to create an open porch on the first floor. One arch occurs at each end; three run across the west facade. Each is trimmed in limestone and at the tops, the stonework broadens and extends upward under the second floor windows. The window openings, outlined in stone, contain one-over-one double-hung sash with side lights. A small hipped-roof dormer, finished in slate, interrupts the face of this steeply pitched roof with double one-over-one window sash.
The south facade of the main block, the most visible from Huntingdon Pike, is the more ornate, intricate elevation of the building. At the western end a one-bay extension protrudes beyond the arched porch to match that on the north facade. Here, however, to take advantage of the view from the second floor, French-style doors open on to a small stone balcony with a decorative iron balustrade. Ornamental stone in a vertical lozenge-shaped medallion breaks the brickwork flanking the doors. A double horizontal banding course of stone above and below the balcony ties this bay with the same banding on the west facade. Beneath the balcony French-style doors are repeated at first floor level. At second-floor level, where this extended bay connects to the central three-bay section of the south facade, a circular turret extends upward above the conventional roofline. The turret slate roof is topped by a decorative iron finial. Behind the turret a tall chimney extends through the roof slope.
The main three-bay section of the south facade consists of three arches, along the first floor, each formed of rusticated limestone pilasters, prominent keystones, and interconnecting stonework. A horizontal band of limestone runs above the arches. At second-floor level an oval window in vertical position, heavily outlined in limestone, stands above each arch. The pilaster effect is carried upward between the oval windows by the use of large and small limestone blocks vertically placed in the brickwork. At roof level three hipped-roof dormers, finished in slate with two-over-two windows, are aligned with the oval windows. At the first floor the arched openings are finished with upper glass panes that repeat the arch in the muntin pattern. Below, French-style doors open on to the terrace in each archway.
At the east corner of the main section stands the octagonal tower that extends well above the roofline and was built for the chapel at third-floor level. Each face of the octagon at the chapel level shows an inset brick arch. Two of these contain leaded-glass lancet windows. On the south face of the tower, limestone is used to accent a set of six vertical window openings, corners, and a water table of a full story.
The south facade of the east wing, the angled smaller section of the house, has a stone water table with basement window openings to compensate for a lower grade. A special feature of this facade is an interruption in the gable roof by a steep hipped-roof section that extends over a limestone and brick bay adjoining the tower. On the inside of the house, this creates the dining room and former nursery above it. The main feature of this bay is a segmentally arched window opening outlined in limestone. On the second floor three double-hung, two-over-two windows fill the arch. On the first floor, under a band of brick and limestone, are three tall, square-headed windows. From inside these look directly toward the steeple of the Cathedral, a purposeful sight-line.
The remaining south facade of the east wing is defined by the use of windows in two sets of pairs and a final single window bay at the east end. A limestone band divides the first and second floors and limestone trim articulates each window as well as linking the pairs. Protruding rectangles of brickwork under the window pairs provide additional architectural interest. Two small dormers and a chimney punctuate the broad expanse of slate roof.
At the east gable end of the main building a brick walled service yard extends the length of the facade. Beneath the gable at the third floor the wall is punctuated by an oval window with a limestone surround. At the second floor three two-over-two windows are regularly spaced and treated with limestone sills and ornamental surrounds. At the first floor, a window matching the type on the second floor exists in the third, south bay. To the north of this is an enclosed porch (originally open) with three large evenly spaced openings that include an entranceway with steps to the yard and two sets of multi-pane windows.
Rusticated limestone block pilasters separate the windows and doorway.
Originally these two windows were simply square-headed masonry openings that went to floor level. With the doorway, a three-bay open porch once existed. This was enclosed, probably in the 1920s. Five windows for the basement level are partially visible above ground level but behind a stone walled areaway with steps to the basement from grade.
On the north facade of the lower east wing certain features are immediately apparent. A hipped-roof porte cochere identifies the main vehicular entrance to the house through a two-leaf wooden door. At the east juncture of the portico the facade of the building steps back about two feet. The four primary first floor windows are large arched, limestone articulated openings with four-part casements. An arched opening occurs in the eastern-most bay of the building that defines the north of the side porch. Windows at the second floor level are all small, directly under the roof eaves, and patterned independently of the first floor windows. The gable roof has three evenly spaced hipped-roof dormers.
The interior of Cairn wood typifies Beaux-Arts room treatment through architectural character and finishes reminiscent of European designs used in restrained or modern modes. Contemporary and local materials rather than imported stone or artifacts were part of the construction planning. The use of a central two-story reception hall off a transverse corridor establishes a basic pattern of the design firm, here used for the first time but incorporated in later country houses.
The main west wing with its primary entrance loggia provided the Pitcairn family with all primary living spaces except dining room, kitchen, and billiard room. The smaller east wing, approached from the outside through a porte cochere, included the latter rooms and servants' quarters. In total, the building contains 28 rooms including the kitchen and chapel. Storage rooms, bathrooms, attic and basement, utility and support spaces are additional.
From the loggia entrance one reaches a vestibule and coat closet area that leads into a central east-west hallway. The floors throughout are all white oak with decorative inset quadrates in walnut around the perimeters. The hallway opens into a grand hall that rises two stories high and features two free-standing columns with Ionic capitals supporting an open balcony under a vaulted ceiling. The room is rich with classic architectural ornamentation. The three large arched openings of the south wall of the grand hall illuminate the space using French-style doors that open onto the terrace.
Oval windows accent the vaults above. A majestic, hooded limestone fireplace in Louis XIV style with a decorative, carved chimneypiece protrudes into the room on the west wall. The firebox and hearth are of Roman brick. Doorways into the parlor to the west flank the fireplace. At the eastern end, an elegantly trimmed staircase of painted, cut, and turned balusters capped by a wide, wooden rail ascends in two runs to the second floor. Vertical, clear leaded windows with decorative carves and accents of colored glass light the landing.
At first-floor ceiling height a cornice of multiple bands of different decorative plaster moldings, including dentils and egg-and-dart with gold leaf accents, articulates the floor division. At second floor level on the north side, three Roman arches with Gothic vaulting articulated by decorative roping provide structural and decorative ceiling support above the columns. The arches create the open balcony along the second floor hall that overlooks the grand space below. Under the arch of the west wall quadrated, raised panels and a central decorative piece add architectural interest following the height of the balcony railing to the north.
At the western end of the first floor, two rooms lie perpendicular to the grand hall. Both open out on to the west veranda. To the north is the white oak paneled library. On the east wall a classically paneled fireplace and overmantel outlined by engaged Corinthian pilasters is featured. Flanking bronze female relief panels complement the beveled fireplace surround of red marble. Open bookcases, defined by wooden pilasters with scroll and leaf ornaments and an entablature, have painted interiors above drawers and cabinets. Above the bookcases is a tray ceiling with panels outlined in decorative raised plaster roping. Painted central garlands and other motifs in a Robert Adam style are temporary additions. Windows in this room are casements (north and west) and a French-style door opens onto the west veranda.
Joining this room directly to the south, but separable by pocket doors, is the larger living room featuring natural, black walnut woodwork. The wood is used to create a deep wooden ceiling cornice, a low paneled wainscot, and door and window surrounds. Fabric covered plaster walls offset the woodwork. The fireplace is larger than in the library. It is faced with a flat surround of rose-colored marble and has a large paneled over-mantel. Doors flanking the fireplace that lead into the grand hall feature Renaissance-style over-doors with a band of carved leaf patterns. On the east wall an oval window with an interlacing muntin pattern looks out onto the south terrace. The west wall features two sets of transoms and French-style doors, the latter opening onto the veranda to the west.
Adjacent to the east side of the library stood the study designed for John Pitcairn. This space was converted to a stair hall in 1999 that ascends to the third floor to meet fire codes. The walnut paneled wainscot remains, as does the walnut cornice. These have been integrated into the new wooden staircase for preservation purposes.
East of the entrance loggia, a comparable space to that of Pitcairn's study (originally identified as the "Reception" room) opens directly onto the larger music room. The spaces have been decorated as one, although the floor inlays define two rooms. The main music room features a simple fireplace on the south wall, characterized by a Sienna marble mantel surround and a full height over-mantel mirror. The walls are treated in large raised panel quadrates above chairrail-height panels. Periodic vertical pilaster-like panels, defined by intertwining garlands, are rhythmically placed. A decorative plaster cornice is used above the doors and at the ceiling. The current pastel color palette of pink on the wall panels, white at chair-rail height, and a combination of both colors in the pilasters is highlighted by gold accents on the raised plaster wall elements to replicate an 18th -century Rococo music salon.
The east wing, set at an angle to the main block and at a lower elevation is down two steps. The transverse corridor and the octagonal tower link the two building sections. On the south side, the base of the tower incorporates the main staircase to the second floor, a lavatory, and an original passenger elevator that ascends to the third floor and down to the basement. Adjoining the tower to the east is the dining room, an asymmetrical, nearly oval space with three double-hung windows focused on the tower of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral in the distance. The architects made interesting use of space remaining from the juncture of the octagonal tower and rectilinear walls by creating a three-walled inglenook or room extension set on a raised marble platform. Square, fluted columns supporting a classically decorated ceiling beam emphasize the space. The central wall of the inglenook features a fireplace with a Caen stone surround in a paneled Georgian mantel and over-mantel setting. Benches with paneled fronts, under raised wooden wall paneling to the right and left of the fireplace, add further classic detailing. This paneling, running to three-quarter wall height, is repeated throughout the remaining walls of the room and at angles flanking the three windows. The wall above the paneling is plastered. The windows reach to the ceiling with ornate carvings at the top of each dividing pier as if they support the dentilated cornice and open beam ceiling. The north-south ceiling timbers are flush and narrow. The east-west beams have greater width at the top and bottom adding to the intersecting three-dimensional effect of a coffered ceiling. The door to the butler's pantry features a heavy curved pediment over-door.
Beyond the dining room are a butler's pantry and an ell-shaped corridor. A winding staircase to the second floor ascends at the west end of the corridor. Off this and the pantry are two rooms that make up the current kitchen complex. The larger room, the former kitchen, has white ceramic tile on the south and west walls. The smaller room was the servants' dining room. In 2000 both rooms were outfitted for catering purposes with stainless steel sinks, tables, and refrigerators. Off the north side of the hall is a former storage area, now converted to a bathroom, coat closet, and washroom. Entrance to the former open porch is at the end of the hall, serving as a vestibule from the back porch entrance on the north facade.
The former billiard room is the second main room in the east wing of the house. It lies at the east end of the east transverse corridor and on the north side of the kitchen hall. Classic raised plaster moldings provide quadrates on the walls above chairrail height.
On the second floor of the main wing there are seven bedrooms and two bathrooms off the east-west hallway and balcony. A former bathroom was removed in 1999 at the northwest end to accommodate the fire staircase. The door casings throughout the second floor are decorated with carved wood decorations and square-headed over-doors. Four of the seven rooms have fireplaces, each with different mantels. The largest and most architecturally interesting rooms are in the southwestern and northeastern corners. The southwestern bedroom, located over the living room and including the south facade turret, also features a balcony to the south. The rounded walls of the turret hold a fireplace and curved window. The northeastern bedroom has a fireplace, a window seat, and an adjoining bathroom that can also be accessed off the hall.
The east wing contains five bedrooms plus the former large nursery over the dining room and a sewing room on the south side. The nursery, now administrative space, features a fireplace with a fluted columned over-mantel and an inset mirror.
A small staircase directly off the main stairs from the grand hall provides direct access to this room. The bathroom for this wing is at the east end of the hall.
The third or attic level of the house has two significant spaces: a large playroom and the chapel. The large finished central room in the main section of the house, with three gable windows on the south side and two bulls eye windows on the north, was first used as a children's playroom. Later this became a storeroom for full-scale casts and molds used for the construction of the cathedral. Off this space at the west end of the main block there is principally unfinished attic space now being used for the air handling systems introduced in 1999. Two previous wood-framed room spaces were removed to accommodate the ductwork and fans.
A corridor leading from the east side of the central room has an entrance to a northeast corner attic room. This space, finished in wood and plaster, has two closets and two small rooms formerly used for photography. Directly across from this room are the elevator, the tower staircase, and the entrance to the third floor octagonal chapel.
The chapel entry off the hall is through a rounded vestibule created by two Doric columns supporting exposed wooden beams. The chapel is finished entirely of panels of natural California redwood. The plaster ceiling is finished in blue with gold finish on the eight ribs. Two decorative leaded-glass lancet windows to the southeast and southwest with accents of colored glass provide the light for the space.
Additional steps off the corridor lead to the attic level of the east wing and an abandoned bathroom. At the end of the east wing, beyond unfinished attic space with the kitchen chimneystack, a finished room remains with four substantial closets.
Garden House (built 1895, restored and renovated for use as the Pitcairn Archives 1989) (PLAN 3, No.2)
Directly east of the mansion house, and serving as the end wall of the walled service yard, stands a one-story, hipped-roof building with a central chimney and an eyebrow dormer on each roof. Built of brick on a rubble stone foundation and with limestone blocks at corners and around openings, the building mimics the mansion house in materials and detailing. Although the building was called the garden house it had a dual use: the north half contained a tool room and plant room under which is a basement space that contained the estate's heating system. The south half had a play room and open porch. During the building of the cathedral and Glencairn, the garden house was used to make the stained glass windows for the church and Glencairn. It was also used for glass and window storage. At times, the fireplace in the playroom area that remains extant served industrial purposes. In 1989 rehabilitation of the building for use as the John Pitcairn Archives was completed. The original tool house is used as the administrative offices for the Archive and retains its separate porch entrance. The original main entrance to the former plant room in the south wall of the entrance porch now serves the Archive collection. The former plant room is a display and shop area and has a small, added bathroom. The archival research area encompasses the playroom and the now enclosed porch.
The north facade of the garden house/Archive features a large square-headed portal to the east trimmed in limestone blocks. A similarly trimmed window is to the west. An eyebrow dormer lies in the roof above. At the corner of the west wall the service wall to the mansion begins. This extends to a masonry-arched gateway with a limestone-capped peak that doubles the height of the wall. The archway holds wrought iron gates that open into the service court. The wall continues to the west and connects to the northeast corner of the mansion. Two sets of steps off the driveway that continues into the service courtyard lead to the entrance portal and small porch of the garden house. From the porch a door in the south wall leads into the Archive. A door in the west wall goes into the administrative office. The east wall contains a large limestone-trimmed opening that leaves a waist-high wall and a view to the garden on the east side of the building.
The east facade incorporates square-headed lintels and a band of limestone at the water table above a Wissahickon schist base. All openings are framed in limestone. The southern half of this facade features a large window flanked by two narrower ones and a doorway to the north with a stone staircase leading into what was a formal garden. The northern half contains two square openings in the wall: a large window and the porch opening.
The south facade has three windows of different dimensions on the main floor and a pair of windows at cellar level. At the southwest corner occurs a masonry arch springing from a waist-high limestone sill. On the western side, masonry arches, two large and one small, also exist. All opened formerly onto a porch that was converted to enclosed space for the Archive. Multi-pane windows now fill the largest openings; the narrower one to the north is a door.
By 1897, Lord & Burnham Company had designed three glass-roofed greenhouses for the garden area, north and east of the garden house. The greenhouses were specially designed to hold Pittsburgh Plate Glass. The exterior wall ran east to west and was stepped to follow the declining contour of the land. The wall linked to the square, pyramidal-roofed building in the main estate wall at the end of the pergola and terrace. The greenhouses were removed in the 1920s, but the north wall of the complex still stands and defines the garden area.
In the garden, between the garden house and east estate wall, a dry-laid stonewall runs north to south to accommodate the sloping topography of the garden area. A central set of stone steps aligning with the east facade door cuts through the wall on an east-west axis. The wall creates two flat grass lawns at different elevations. The removal of the greenhouses and differing uses of the garden house since the 1920s has caused elimination of original paths and plantings. Only a photograph from the early 1920s provides evidence of its former splendor.
The pergola and terrace at the east side of the garden linked to the main wall of the estate are discussed further as a structure under the section Gate/Wall/Terrace and Pergola.
Stable, Carriage House, and Coachman's Quarters (1895) (PLAN 3, No.3)
The stable, carriage house, and coachman's quarters or caretaker's residence makes use of the same architectural materials and characteristics as the mansion and garden house. It establishes the northern end of the property along Huntingdon Pike. The two-and-a-half story building was symmetrically designed as a long rectangle with a hipped roof to house stables to the north, carriages south of a central drive-through arched carriageway, and a residence at the south end adjoining the main gate to the property. At both ends of the building are the small one-story blockhouses with pyramidal roofs that define the estate wall. The one-story block at the north end served as a horse paddock, surrounded by a manure pit and a walled yard. This remains intact but is used for storage. The block at the south end is part of the residence. The building possesses high integrity both inside and out.
The west facade is dominated by the arched carriageway that rises nearly the height of the facade and is finished in rusticated limestone blocks. North and south of the arch the roof holds two octagonal ventilator cupolas with Venetian slating, peaked roofs, and ball finials. Hipped-roof dormers are aligned under each cupola with a third and fourth dormer in the end quadrants. Limestone trim that extends decoratively into the face of the facade particularly distinguishes the south dormer under the cupola. Fenestration is irregular in size and number of lights and placed asymmetrically on both the east and west facades to serve for interior light and function. The residence at the south end has an open loggia or porch, created by a square-headed limestone doorway on the south facade and two arched and limestone trimmed openings on the west side.
The interior of the stable clearly defines its multi-use design. The north end houses five spacious wooden stalls along the east wall off a wide corridor. Two large sliding wooden doors in the wall at the end of the corridor lead to the carriageway. White plastered wall and ceiling finishes contrast with natural wooden posts, ceiling beams, cross-buck doors, and tongue-and-groove boarding. On the west side are three milking stalls and a staircase to the second floor.
The central carriageway of the building is distinguished by closed, double wooden pocket doors in the arches of both the east and west facades. Within the top of the doors are multiple small window panes. The carriageway itself is finished as an exterior facade with brick and limestone block. Midway the walls of both the north and south sides are punctuated with large sliding batten doors with cross braced sections for access of horses to the north stable or carriages to the south carriage house. The carriage house is a spacious plastered room with open beam ceiling and exposed floorboards above all painted white. Windows open to the carriage way and on the east and west facades. The space now houses historic carriages from the Pitcairn family on display. The carriage room shares a wall with the two-story residence at the south end of the building. The first floor of the residence has a kitchen and main hall with a link to the parlor in the neighboring one-story block. Hipped-roof dormers that transect the roofline on the west and south sides light two bedrooms on the second floor. This residential section of the building connects directly to the main gate, and retains the symmetry of the design.
Over the northern two-thirds of the stable at the second floor level the timber frame system of four trusses per section is fully open and visible. The bottom chords of the trusses are of four pinned joists, each of which is 2.5 x 12 inches. Over the carriageway hanging trusses are used. The framing system of the trusses and roof timbers create an impressive expanse of timber. Over the carriage way remains the trap door in the floor, and the pulley and winch system through which carriages could be hoisted for storage above the carriage room. Here also a trolley system can be seen, used to transport hay into the north section of the stable for use in the stalls below.
Garage, Chauffeur's Residence, and Studio (1911) (PLAN 3, No.4)
In addition to the Carrere & Hastings structures, a large two-and-a-half story building was added to the complex nearly eighteen years after the original construction was completed. It coincided with the new age of the automobile and was built to serve as a garage (middle section), a chauffeur's residence (northern end), and a studio for John's son Raymond (southern end).
The work is in sympathy to Carrere & Hastings' intents through design and materials, although it was designed about 1910 by the Philadelphia firm of Duhring, Okie, & Ziegler (1899-1914) and finished with strong input from Raymond Pitcairn in 1911. The building is directly across from the main entrance gate to Cairnwood and had an apron that went west off Huntingdon Pike that has been closed off by a row of recently planted evergreens since the 1980s. The Academy of the New Church now uses the building for residential and meeting room purposes. The chauffeur's residence continues to function as a residence for Academy staff. Access is gained from the building's north end, where a driveway runs off the Pike. The garage spaces on the first floor have been converted to social rooms and meeting areas with a kitchen space at the south end. This community space continues to the second floor in the area where Raymond had his studio. Other spaces on the second floor in the middle section have been modified to residential apartments for students through the addition of walls and bathroom facilities. Although some of the interior spaces have been adapted for contemporary uses, the building retains most of its original fabric and integrity.
On the west facade the rooflines and fenestration of the building identify a two-story structure with a hipped slate roof with deep eaves. Three hipped-roof gable windows, all of different sizes, are centered in the middle section. These are flanked by a protruding hipped roof bay, each with a similar roof gable and twin windows. A large brick chimney breaks the roof peak at the south end. On the first floor under the central gable windows are three flat arched openings of varying sizes that are accented by incised limestone surrounds. Rusticated limestone blocks on the sides and larger keystone-like blocks through the arches punctuate each surround regularly. While the orange brickwork basically replicates that used by Carrere & Hastings, the limestone quoins at the corners and the door and window surrounds look "applied" and less integrated than the fine masonry work of the earlier period on the main complex. The original sets of double-leaf doors for vehicular access were removed in the 1980s and new in-fill construction of either window sash or flush doors and masonry has been added.
The protruding bays with their gable windows at each end of the building, plus two windows below at first-floor level, help clarify function. Two sets of multi-light leaded windows occur in the south gable. Below is a stone-trimmed window opening with three double-hung windows with the same muntin pattern. A smaller window to the south is again imitative. This end of the building and bay was used as Raymond Pitcairn's studio and exhibits a more craftsman-style window design.
At the north end the windows use more routine, larger muntin patterns for the section of the building that was the chauffeur's residence. This is further defined by a separate arched masonry side entrance porch and a three-bay building extension to the east. Here fenestration indicates rooms at the first, second, and basement levels. A one-story hipped roof extension for a one-car garage at a lower elevation remains as well. The original double-Ieafwood paneled doors with upper glass panes provide evidence for the type of doors probably used at the other arched garage openings along the Pike.
The east facade of this building at roof level features a gable roofed window extension at the southern end and a gable dormer in the roof to the north. In the middle roof section a large window occurs at a higher elevation in the roof--an opening at the attic level not otherwise visible. At the north end of the roof the chauffeur's east roof extension occurs. On the second floors this includes a small gable window facing south. On the first floor a staircase extends into the south facade of the east wing into a masonry porch opening. A bulkhead cellar door and a window above are also tucked into the building corner next to this stairway. The chauffeur's garage abuts this building extension at a lower height and uses 9/9 double-hung windows.
At the southern end of the building, on the east side, is a large arched entranceway with multiple sidelights the height of the door. Five steps approach this door and a small veranda from a path through the garden. A shed roof of slate shingles covers the door. A contemporary, pressure-treated wooden deck and railing at second-floor level above this main entrance detracts from the original design.
On the interior the residential chauffeur's wing at the north end retains its original purpose and usage on both floors. The middle first floor spaces for vehicles and mechanical repairs were changed in use and appearance in the 1980s. The appearance of the studio area designed for Raymond at the south end has changed little, but is used differently. Living spaces on the second floor and attic are used residentially.
On the first floor the large garage spaces now have dropped ceilings and modified doors and windows. Walls and ceilings are painted white. The more southerly section retains industrial character due to exposed timbers, piping, and ironwork in the ceilings. This space has new kitchen cabinets and equipment for accessory use.
A door leading to the east from this space takes one into another large room now treated as an entrance foyer. This room may be entered from the rear east entrance with the extra-wide four-foot plus door. This space was originally probably a machine room, thus the large door. A staircase at the southwestern corner of the building leads to Raymond Pitcairn's studio in the gable end of the building on the second floor. Here open timber framing to the roof ridge, a large stone fireplace with a chimney stack that extends through the roof, and a wooden balcony cantilevered from the chimney at attic floor level establish a dramatic environment for entertainment, music, or merely relaxing. A door through the northwest wall leads to the room with the leaded windows. A corner fireplace adds further interest to this space. A door adjoining the fireplace leads to a central second floor hallway off which there are small rooms and bathrooms. A staircase against the north wall to the attic level provides access to other spaces, the balcony, and a large room under the rafters that is lit by a clerestory window to the east.
Wall/Entrance Gate/Terrace and Pergola (Plan 3, No.5)
The built structures of Cairnwood are defined from Huntingdon Pike by a wall of Roman brick and rusticated limestone built on a stone foundation topped with a limestone band. These building materials are used to create various component parts that make up the wall. At the center stands a masonry and wrought iron entrance gate that crosses the driveway to the property. Integrated symmetrically into the wall are one-story, square, pyramidally-roofed blockhouses at the north and south ends and flanking the entrance gate. These structures, with protruding roof overhangs and limestone trimmed windows and corners, act as anchors for the wall and add architectural interest, dimension, and function. Between the two blockhouses south of the gate the wall has an added feature allowing it to serve as a pergola support. Positioned on the top of the wall at regularly spaced intervals are two-foot high brick posts capped with limestone. These support a wooden beam that once held cross members of a pergola. These structures possess high integrity of the primary components.
In symmetry, to the north of the gate stands a matching third blockhouse. It connects directly to the two-and-a-half story stable and carriage house complex. Here it serves as part of the coachman's residence located at the south end of the stable. The east wall of the stable complex defines the estate along the highway. The main break in the stable facade is the central arched carriageway with closed wooden doors. Terminating the wall at the north end is a fourth blockhouse that on the west side of the wall defines a paddock area now used for storage.
The central entrance gate is distinctive and welcoming. Each side consists of four sections: the masonry gate post, the gate, a sloping, curved wall section with an arched portal and wrought iron gate for pedestrians, and a short pillar in brick and limestone attached to a section of brick wall that continues to the blockhouse. The main gateposts have rusticated limestone on the bottom half and limestone quoins and brick in the upper portion. Beneath smooth limestone capping and a cornice "CAIRNWOOD" has been incised in the frieze. The wrought iron gates consist principally of verticals members and paired horizontal bars at the top and bottom. They swing from more decorative stationery fencing attached to the masonry. The fencing includes square wrought iron posts that are topped by lanterns.
The terrace and pergola are features of the west side of the south garden wall or estate wall of Cairn wood. They run from the south side of the blockhouse that anchored the former greenhouses to the north side of the southern-most blockhouse. Although the pergola cross-timbers and most of the western support beam no longer remain, four square brick and limestone capped support columns for this beam stand at the edge of the terrace. The parallel pergola beam remains in place on the brick posts of the estate wall.
The terrace itself appears as fragments of masonry in the ground between the wall and the columns for the pergola. Most is overgrown with grass. The blockhouses have more distinctive qualities. The northern unit has full walls plus a wall extension on the south facade that continues beyond the roof eave for the former greenhouse. An archheaded doorway occurs in the west facade filled with a double-leaf door with upper lights. The south facade arched doorway contains a temporary board-and-batten door. The southern blockhouse was designed to serve as a belvedere. It has a fully open north side to allow access from the terrace. The east wall is part of the estate wall, but the south and west walls have rectangular openings above waist-high brick walling finished with a limestone sill.
Integrity of the Cairnwood Complex
The integrity of the 1895 Cairnwood complex is distinctive. Furthermore, the Pitcairn Archives maintain the drawings, building specifications, and account papers that document its construction. Within the overall complex, the major losses that have occurred are the three greenhouses, the pergola framing and terracing, and garden plantings. The garden house was converted to a craft studio for the production of the stained glass windows for the New Church in about 1914, but most impact from that use was reversed in 1989 by rehabilitating the building to an Archive for the Pitcairn papers and collections. With the exception of enclosed porch arches, a few changes to door entries, and renewed finishes, the basic building has been returned to its 1895 configuration.
Newspaper reports identify a fire occurred in the hayloft of the stable in 1926, but clarity of the loss has never been established and repairs are now hard to detect.
The mansion house has been even less affected by change, serving as a residence for various members of the Pitcairn family until 1980. Structurally no major changes can be cited under the family's ownership, though some interior attic wall partitions were added by Raymond Pitcairn and the east service porch was enclosed. The elevator was modernized in the 1920s and is currently being reactivated. Bathrooms were modernized in the 1950s (with the exception of fixtures in the abandoned lavatory in the attic), electrical fixtures were upgraded, and a fireplace on the second floor was altered. The original walls, floors, architectural ornamentation, run-in-place cornices, fireplaces and mantels are intact throughout the house, and original woodwork throughout remains in fine condition.
Between 1998 and 2000, in order to adapt the building to a hospitality center for various private and public uses, selective rehabilitation has taken place. The original slate roof, flashing, and central standing seam metal roof over the main block were completely restored during the year 2000. All windows have been repaired and restored to make them fully functional and masonry has been cleaned. Painting of interior finishes on the main floor and certain second floor rooms is being undertaken in keeping with paint seriation studies. The most significant change has been the addition of a new exit stair from the first through the third floor in the main wing, affecting the space of John Pitcairn's study and eliminating a former second floor bathroom. Glass fire doors were also added in the second floor hall. A new limestone and concrete ADA ramp to the main entrance provides easy access to the east side of the north porch.
"Cairnwood," the 1895 residence of John C. Pitcairn, industrialist, is historically significant from 1895 to 1916 under two National Register criteria, Criterion B, for the individual John Pitcairn in his relation to industry and religion and Criterion C for architecture as manifest in the Beaux-Arts residential estate in Bryn Athyn, PA, designed by Carrere & Hastings of New York City. As a self-educated immigrant who became an entrepreneur and industrialist, John Pitcairn's greatest achievement was founder, president, and chairman of the Board of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, the first American industry of its kind. As a man of vision and strong educational and religious principles based on Swedenborgian doctrines and beliefs, Pitcairn was also instrumental in founding The Academy of the New Church of the General Church of the New Jerusalem in Philadelphia and finally Bryn Athyn. Through lay leadership and personal financial endowment from his industrial successes, Pitcairn became the main benefactor of The Academy (a school and theological seminary) and essentially provided the land and funded the construction of the Gothic Revival Bryn Athyn Cathedral completed by 1919. Cairnwood, the home where Pitcairn lived with his family from 1895 to 1916, holds architectural significance as an exceptional Beaux-Arts, French-style complex of three buildings exhibiting high integrity with adjoining walls, gates, and terraces of which all but the greenhouses remain. The 1911 addition of a garage/residence/studio building, designed by Duhring, Okie, & Ziegler of Philadelphia, matches the original architectural complex and is included in the 6.75 acre property as a contributing building. Cairnwood meets Criterion Consideration A as a residential property of significance for its owner and architecture that was bequeathed in 1979 to The Academy of the New Church, a religiously affiliated institution. The mansion is now used for special events and conferences.
History of Construction and Use
The history of Cairn wood begins with John C. Pitcairn's purchase 0f 35 acres of sylvan and agrarian land in Beth Ayers, Montgomery County near Alnwick Grove and Pennypack Creek in 1889 to establish a family residence outside of Philadelphia. As a wealthy industrialist and a benefactor of The Academy of the New Church of the General Convention of the New Jerusalem he was also hoping to relocate The Academy to a campus setting where it could expand. The initial purchase was so successful that Pitcairn gradually increased his holdings to 500 acres (much of this now makes up the community of Bryn Athyn). Friends and members of the New Church from Philadelphia began to take up residence in the area and waterpower and temporary housing for education and religious services were established. By 1892 Pitcairn had contacted architects Carrere & Hastings of New York to design a residence, garden house, green houses, and stable for his family. Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot from Boston worked with Mrs. Pitcairn on garden plans.
Rich documentation on the construction history of Cairnwood and the use of the buildings by different generations of the Pitcairn family remains through the John Pitcairn Archive, The Academy Archive, and published sources. Provided are correspondence between the architects, contractors, project manager, and the Pitcairns as well as specifications, plans, and initial concepts and plantings for the gardens under the Olmsteds. Evidence from these sources shows that design concepts for the estate must have commenced about 1 891, for detailed building specifications dated September 1892 exist for the dwelling and stable. By June 1893 specifications were available for the garden house, terraces, and walls.
Work was to be completed by March 1894 on the house; the stable and garden house were to follow. Correspondence from Carrere & Hastings of 30 September 1892 to John Pitcairn provides a listing of bids for the construction of the house and stable. The winning bidder was J. E. and A. L. Pennock, Builders, of 305 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Pitcairn's final accounting shows a total sum for construction and architects fees at $161,638.82 for the 28-room house.
Letters between Pitcairn and Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot of Brookline from May to October 1893 regarding the plantings for the house and The Academy, define the involvement of the Boston firm. By 6 October 1893 a complete planting plan was available and supplied to the Pitcairns for ordering that fall. Charles Eliot took charge of the Pitcairn project due to the failing health of the elder Olmsted. He worked closely with Gertrude Pitcairn on the garden plans until her death in March 1898. Elliot succumbed himself in an untimely fashion two years later. Continuation of landscaping issues and designs for the Pitcairns were handled by Warren H. Manning, who left the Olmsted firm in 1896 and maintained his own successful practice out of Boston. Little of the original plantings are identifiable now.
The building was dedicated with exuberance on 22 May 1895 and stood as a unique French manor house built of principally American materials and incorporating glass from Pitcairn's own Pittsburgh plant. John and Gertrude Pitcairn immediately moved from their home at 2008 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, to take up residence at Cairnwood with their three children, Raymond, Vera, and Theodore. Harold, their youngest child was later born at Cairnwood. A head housekeeper ran the household between 1897 and 1902. After Gertrude's unexpected death in 1898, Maria Hogan, a friend of the family known as "Aunt Rydie" lived at Cairnwood and became a substitute mother for the children.
The greenhouses east of the house were in the original designs but not added until 1898. Lord & Burnham Company, Horticultural Architects and Builders of New York, designed the buildings, but again all the curved glass was supplied by Pitcairn's own plant with a modification to the plans for a heavier sash. The greenhouse construction completed the full residential complex.
The size of the house allowed an overlap of generations to reside on the property. Raymond Pitcairn, John's eldest son, married Mildred Glenn, daughter of John's brother-in-law, Robert Glenn on 29 December 1910. Shortly thereafter they moved into Cairnwood. The happy occasion was preceded by a sad event for the family, however. Vera Pitcairn, John's only daughter, died suddenly of appendicitis on 22 July 1910 at the age of 23.
Just after Raymond's marriage a large building to house an automobile garage, chauffeur's quarters, and studio was designed for inclusion on the east side of Huntingdon Pike. Under the direction of Duhring, Okie & Ziegler of Philadelphia, Raymond planned a building that blended with the Carrere & Hasting's design, but also provided a private "studio" space outside of the family residence for social gatherings, musical events, and artistic endeavors for himself and Mildred. Running the width of the building at second floor level, the dramatic space has windows looking into the treetops, a large stone fireplace, an interior balcony off the chimney, and open timber framing to the roof ridge. The evolution of this studio apparently brought Raymond, a lawyer, directly into the process of working out architectural design through manipulation of the building materials and direct control of the contractors. Within two years, the same method would be employed for the construction of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. Raymond himself explains what happened:
The work began with an architect and building contractor .... The studio was completed without either architect or contractor by men employed on a time basis .... I gathered stones for the great fireplace from the fields, from old stone walls, and from a local quarry and employed a local mason to build it. ... Trees for the timber work and roof had been secured a few miles north of Bryn Athyn, and our plans developed on the spot where the studio was being built. The studio proved to have been a sort of experimental laboratory for formulating principles and methods.
It was these principles that caused Raymond to initiate the guild system for the construction of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral and abandon his law practice to direct its design and erection between 1912 and 1919. Completion of the full complex did not occur until 1929.
When John Pitcairn died in 1916, his goals of establishing a home and religious community in a sylvan setting where the Swedenborgian theology could be practiced and taught had been fulfilled. Furthermore, he left three sons to carry on the family tradition. Raymond, in particular oversaw the church construction and carried on the care of Cairnwood with his wife and family of nine children. In 1929, however, when the Cathedral was nearly complete, Raymond took on the architectural challenge of building his own home in a medieval style next to Cairnwood. Named "Glencairn" to link his name with his wife's, the architectural project of a house and a space to exhibit his medieval art collection lasted more than ten years. In 1939, Raymond and his family moved into their new home and the second generation of Pit cairns left Cairnwood behind.
The construction of the Cathedral and Glencairn had some impact on the Cairnwood property. In particular, the garden house that had been converted to a space where glass windows for the cathedral could be fashioned, was altered twice again. In 1937 the heating plant for the residence was moved out to a separate facility. To accommodate glass work for Glencairn, a gas kiln and an electric kiln were installed in the playroom area. The basement, porch, and attic of the building were also eventually converted to storage for glass panes formerly housed in a building on Paper Mill Road.
The main house lay empty until 1943-44 when the next generation of the Pitcairn's assumed ownership. The property became the home of Raymond and Mildred's daughter, Gabriel Pitcairn Pendleton, and her husband Bishop Willard Pendleton of the New Church. The Pendletons were responsible for undertaking renovations to the mechanical systems, plumbing, and bathrooms during the 1950s, features relatively extant today. Their use of Cairnwood as a residence ended in 1979. Between then and 1995 the estate was relatively unused with the exception of amassing family memorabilia into the garden house as a potential storage area for archival materials. Rehabilitation of the garden house into the John Pitcairn Archives began in 1986. An inauguration ceremony was held on 9 September 1989 presenting the building and contents to The Academy. A commitment begun in 1998 by The Academy to maintain, and where necessary, selectively and sequentially restore and rehabilitate Cairnwood to its original appearance for conference and special events is now underway. Modifications have been made for fire, life safety, and ADA accessibility with minimal impact on the property.
Associated with the life of a Significant Individual, John C. Pitcairn (1841-1916)
Significance applies to John Pitcairn, an individual significant as an industrialist for his accomplishments as founder, president, and chairman of the board of Pittsburgh Plate Glass, America's first successful industry of this type. Under Criterion B in the area of religion, Pitcairn's significance is as a layman involved in the founding of The Academy of the New Church and of the General Convention of the New Jerusalem and as supporter of its growth and building campaign in the community of Bryn Athyn under the General Church. Pitcairn's multiple roles in life, running a successful business, supporting religious and educational facilities associated with Swedenborgian theologies, and providing shelter and nurturing for his family were very interconnected. During his life time he succeeded in fulfilling his personal goals, a remarkable accomplishment for a self-educated immigrant.
John Pitcairn was born in Johnstone, Scotland, an industrial town outside of Glasgow on 10 January 1841. His father was a machinist. His mother was spiritually-minded and a devotee of Emanuel Swedenborg. As a family of seven the Pitcairns sailed to America in 1846 and settled in Allegheny City, P A. John was baptized into the Swedenborgian Church before 1850 with other members of his family. He attended school formally until he was 14, but resumed studies later and completed the first year of high school. On 10 January 1855 he left home to work in the headquarters of the General Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Altoona where he learned telegraph communications. This was the start of his training in a growing industry and his nurturing of contacts that took him from railroads to the production of plate glass. He progressed to railroad offices in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he became an Assistant Superintendent and train dispatcher. By 1860 he had moved to Philadelphia where he was secretary to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Here he strengthened his contacts with scholars and followers of the New Church and developed friendships that later brought about the development of Bryn Athyn and Cairnwood.
Between 1860 and 1869 Pitcairn moved upward in the railroad industry. He attained the position of Assistant Superintendent of the Middle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, working out of Harrisburg. He then became Superintendent of the Middle Division of the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad at Renovo. From these locations through his railroad pass, he partook of cultural and social events across the state and attended meetings of the New Church between Boston and Cincinnati. His appointment as General Manager of the Oil Creek and Allegheny River Railroad in 1869 lasted until 1872 and through the Oil War of that year. By September of 1872, John Pitcairn had resigned his position and became an independent entrepreneur. He established a partnership with Vandergrift, Forman & Company to transport oil and gas by pipe line. The firm founded Imperial Refinery Company of which Pitcairn was head. This position brought him in competition with the Rockefellers and Standard Oil, to whom he eventually sold the refinery.
In 1879, Pitcairn became involved with H. L. Taylor in the formation of the Union Oil Company, Buffalo, NY, which soon became the largest producer of oil in the country. By 1883 Pitcairn had traveled west and with the assistance of a close friend and traveling companion Walter Child, purchased and founded the Glencoe Consolidated Mining Company in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Pitcairn's involvement in the plate glass industry began in 1882 with New York City Plate Glass. Plate glass was one of America's weakest industries at the time due to the long and complex manufacturing process and the large industrial plant necessary to produce quality product. No American firm had effectively accomplished appropriate production in an economic fashion by 1880, though many had tried. Past failures led to some successes, however, and improvement of equipment and knowledge from the more accomplished British firms inspired a John B. Ford to pursue manufactory. He purchased European machinery and collaborated with John Pitcairn and other associates to found New York City Plate Glass Company with a factory at Creighton, Pennsylvania. In 1883 this production site became Works No.1 of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. Pitcairn was elected Vice-President and under his wise counsel and meticulous understanding of business principles and economics it became clear by 1896 that only a large-scale industry could become profitable. The production process to attain quality glass had been mastered, but Pitcairn felt the only way to full success was maximum quantity production by the most economic means. Investment of large capital and development of multiple plants and shipping centers were critical in order to compete with foreign production. The company reorganized, increased capital stock, and established a total of ten production plants, many covering more than a mile of territory. Forty-two warehouses were opened across the country for speedy distribution. The perfection of the process for cooling sheet glass completed under Pitcairn between 1900 and 1904 became an industry standard. Pitcairn rose to be the largest stockholder in the company, served as president from 1897 to 1905, and was chairman of the board from 1894 until his death on 22 July 1916. Pitcairn's leadership brought the firm international fame and holdings and created a product incorporated in everything from storefronts to windshields. The obituary for Pitcairn in the Public Ledger on 23 July 1916 claimed his firm was "the largest producer and distributor of plate glass in the world." In 1985 it stood as one of the leading 100 United States corporations with over 75 plants in operation.
As an individual devoted to a religious doctrine, Pitcairn stands out as a man of purpose and conviction to his faith--the Swedenborgian teachings and theology. His commitment to perfection of industrial and business standards during a time when railroad, coal and steel were at their height of development after the Civil War resulted in unusual wealth. As an industrialist of the Gilded Age, Pitcairn was one of two families on the eastern seaboard of America whose wealth endowed an entire cathedral. Development of a mansion complex for families of such means was, however, more common at the time. A comparison with other industrialists of the period provides certain interesting parallels and contrasts.
Pitcairn, interestingly, had some involvement with many other industrialists of his time with whom he can be compared:
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), Andrew Mellon (1855-1937), John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1847-1960) and Joseph Wharton (1826-1909). Of these seven men, Carnegie, Frick, and Mellon came from the Pittsburgh area where Pitcairn grew up and they all knew each other. Like Pitcairn, Carnegie emigrated from Scotland but was the son of a weaver. He too began as a telegrapher with the railroads and then moved up to a supervisory capacity. His fortunes came from iron and steel interests and the founding of Carnegie Steel in 1900. The buy-out of his business by John Pierpont Morgan in 1901 to create U. S. Steel left Carnegie with 350 million dollars. His philosophy was that rich men were "trustees" of their wealth and should administer it to the good of the public. He supported the arts and culture, endowing the construction of Carnegie Hall in Manhattan, Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, and 2800 libraries in the United States in addition to other foundations.
Henry Clay Frick, the son of a farmer, began as a bookkeeper and established early investments in coke ovens. He rapidly increased his holdings by buying out competitors. The need for coke to produce steel brought him and his investments in touch with Andrew Carnegie. By 1889 Frick was Chairman of Carnegie Steel. After John P. Morgan bought out Carnegie Steel, Frick became director of the U.S. Steel Company. After his death, his 15 million dollar estate was made public through an art collection housed in his mansion designed by Carrere & Hastings on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Major endowments to Princeton and Pittsburgh Universities were also part of his legacy.
Andrew Mellon of Pittsburgh was the son of a banker and lawyer and received a university education. An early pursuit in the lumber business with his family brought him in contact with Frick. In addition to founding Union Trust Company of Pittsburgh, he held interest in Gulf Oil, American Locomotive, Pittsburgh Coal, Aluminum Company of America, and various hydroelectric and bridge works. In 1921 Mellon resigned as head of Mellon Bank and became Secretary of the Treasury, a position he held through three presidents. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Britain in 1931-32. He donated ten million dollars to the founding of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, Pittsburgh, in 1913 and left his art collection to the Washington National Gallery with endowment for construction of a wing to house it.
From Hartford, Connecticut, John Pierpont Morgan first followed in the footsteps of his father as a banker. Holdings in the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad grew into a vast railroad empire after 1869. Morgan's finances allowed him to quickly become involved in practically every developing industry. His largest undertaking was the founding of U.S. Steel Corporation through the purchase of Carnegie Steel. This created the country's first billion dollar industry. His entrepreneurial means of attracting funds from abroad to support American resources increased his holdings and investments. He had been president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and left to them a valuable art collection now housed in the Pierpont Morgan Wing. Of these contemporaries of Pitcairn's, Morgan took an interest in religion, serving as a lay leader in the Episcopal Church.
John D. Rockefeller, although born in New York, grew up on a farm in Cleveland. He also began as a bookkeeper, but in 1862 established an oil refinery in Cleveland with H. M. Flagler. The growth of this enterprise with his brother, Flagler, and S. V. Harkness resulted in the Standard Oil Company of Ohio. Using the same principles of business preached by Pitcairn, Rockefeller gained dominance of the American oil refining industry. Interaction with the railroad companies produced additional investments. He retired in 191 1 from the petroleum industry with a fortune. Among much other philanthropy, Rockefeller's wealth went to founding the University of Chicago in 1892, to the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research in New York ($500 million), to the Rockefeller Foundation, and to various other cultural foundations, social organizations, historic monuments, and the Baptist Church, of which he was a devout member. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was born in Cleveland, graduated from Brown University in 1897 and took over Standard Oil for his father in 1911. In addition to establishing Rockefeller Center in Manhattan he donated land for the United Nations building and pursued many religious, artistic and cultural philanthropic initiatives. One of his largest besides establishing Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia was funding the construction of Riverside Church at 120th Street in Manhattan. Completed in 1930 and designed after the Gothic patterns of Chartres, Riverside boasts a 21-story high-rise tower with a 74-bell carillon, decorative stone carvings and stained glass of the era. The church is non-denominational and inclusive of all cultures, classes, religions, and ethnicities. As a second generation industrialist, and one whose father dealt directly with John Pitcairn, it may well be that John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was influenced by Bryn Athyn Cathedral in considering the construction of his church for New York City.
In the Philadelphia area, Joseph Wharton, a Quaker, stands out as a manufacturer of the time. He spent his youth on a farm due to ill health but studied chemistry and worked in a dry goods establishment. His first success was establishing a white lead manufactory with his brother, which they sold for a profit. He used his chemical and metallurgy interests to become involved with various metal works--zinc, iron, and nickel, and established processes and new methods for refining or producing each one. In 1857 he founded Saucon Iron Company that by 1899 became Bethlehem Steel. He owned coke works, coal tracts, and invested in railroads. His philanthropy was educationally based, beneficiaries being the Hicksite Quaker Swarthmore College (one of the country's earliest co-educational institutions where he served as president of the Board of Managers) and the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania.
Of these seven giants of industry whose labors helped form the industrial and transportation backbone of American before and after the Civil War, most succeeded through ingenuity, awareness of a need affecting the entire country, perseverance, business acumen, personal connections, perfection, and respect for virtues and morals. Practically all shared their financial successes in some way with the public, through art, architecture, libraries, music, education, or religion. John Pitcairn stands out as the first benefactor of a cathedral or church built to support a specific religious philosophy. He was followed twenty years later by a second-generation industrialist who fulfilled a similar mission in New York. As men of means and conviction--as noted by their successes in industry--one can understand that their choices of philanthropy usually stemmed from their own personal life experiences. Thus Joseph Wharton funded a Quaker School and Pitcairn supported The Academy of the New Church of the Swedenborgian doctrine.
Another parallel between these industrialists is the fact that Carrere & Hastings, who designed Pitcairn's exceptional Beaux-Arts residential complex, also built the Frick mansion in New York (19l2) and designed the home for Morgan's partner, Henry Flagler in Florida (1901). Carrere & Hastings clearly ranked as the firm of renown for the prosperous industrialists of the Gilded Age.
John Pitcairn's dedication to the writings and teachings of the Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was initiated through his family's practice of the religion and his baptism into the New Church in his youth. The religion itself had been brought to America by followers from London who settled in Baltimore in 1792. From there its presence spread to neighboring states. During the 1860s Pitcairn served as an employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company out of Philadelphia, and his travels allowed him to study and follow the teachings of the Swedenborgian missionaries across the country. Pitcairn was particularly influenced by Reverend William Henry Benade, who became pastor of the Pittsburgh New Church society in l864. Pitcairn's active role as a missionary in spreading the word of church doctrines, bringing visitors to the church, and supplying financial support — even assisting other church members with loans — started at this time and continued until his death.
Recorded commitment to the New Church occurred on March 4, 1871 in Pittsburgh, when he was accepted as an adult member. Shortly thereafter he was elected as a trustee simultaneously with another strong personage in his church life, Walter C. Childs. Once enrolled, Pitcairn carried out a more active role as noted in his personal diary and papers. By 1872 entrepreneurial business ventures in coal and oil brought Pitcairn new prosperity, and he undertook travel in Europe to study the New Church doctrine and investigate methods for developing an Academy to teach youth. His support of the New Church both in his home town and in other states grew. In 1873 he quietly contributed $3,930 to Benade's Pittsburgh society and a year later purchased a lot and nearly fully financed the construction of a church in that city. Support was also given to the New Church school and college in Urbana, Ohio, and eventually to many others throughout the world., Pitcairn's earliest financial commitment to founding an Academy occurred on 14 January 1874 in Pittsburgh. It stemmed from a luncheon two days earlier in which a decision was made between Rev. Benade, Walter C. Childs, and a church member, Frank Ballou, that a New Church Club be organized with Benade president, Childs secretary, and Ballou treasurer. On the 14th, Pitcairn wrote a check for $500 to begin the effort of educating "old and young of the New Church in the doctrines revealed through Swedenborg, and of working toward the establishment of a new religious orientation based upon what was accepted as the Second Coming of the Lord. This philosophy and doctrine eventually caused a separation from the established General Convention of the United States church and a kindling of a new Swedenborgian following that manifested itself in the educational and religious institutions in Bryn Athyn under the General Church. According to Pitcairn's biographer, "his endowment and continued support by loyal descendants have largely sustained and developed the educational institution which has become the modern Academy of the New Church at Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania." In 1987 among Swedenborgian institutions it was considered the most important center of the movement. 
The ultimate founding of The Academy of the New Church occurred with Rev. William Benade and eleven other members of the church on June 1876 in Philadelphia. A year later the Theological School for The Academy opened there on Cherry Street. A boys' school opened in 1881 and a girls' in 1884. Pitcairn's direct involvement in the functions of The Academy were left to others. Instead he continued his work for the railroad, involvement in new oil and mining pursuits, travels across America and Europe with Rev. Benade and Childs for Swedenborgian contacts and business pursuits, and developing financial support for The Academy. Simultaneously, Pitcairn became a lay leader, serving as a delegate to the General Convention in 1880. By 1883 he was elected Chairman of the Council of the Laity in the Pennsylvania Association, a title that meant he managed the money to support the organization and sought contributions from members. The same year his contributions to The Academy in Philadelphia totaled $17,800. All was not without strife, however, and between 1882 and 1889 Pitcairn became involved in reorganizations of the General Convention of the New Church and the formation of the General Church of Pennsylvania with Benade as Bishop. During the same period he served as Academy Councilor, a role in which he served as a witness rather than a leader as changes in educational direction and ecclesiastical views were established. The affairs of The Academy were clearly in formative years.
Pitcairn's personal life developed simultaneously, and on 8 January 1884 in a double ceremony in the New Church, John Pitcairn married Gertrude Starkey, and Gertrude's sister, Cara, married Robert Glenn, a prominent Philadelphia real estate broker. Philadelphia officially became Pitcairn's family residence, and he and his new wife settled at 2008 Spring Garden Street. There a back building on their lot was torn down to make space for gatherings of church members. But it was not enough. By 1889, the desire to establish a residence for his family out of the city and acquire land for The Academy to grow in its own community took Pitcairn to Huntingdon Valley. In that year Pitcairn's first acquisition of land in an area known as Beth Ayres began. Extensive land purchases by Pitcairn enabled the creation of a community named Bryn Athyn. This then became the site of Pitcairn's family residence and the final home of The Academy of the New Church, the location of the Cathedral of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and a community where New Church members could live, work, and go to school. It is now a borough in Lower Moreland Township.
By 1892 Pitcairn's elaborate, French-style residence was in the design stages. In May 1895, Cairnwood's Beaux-Arts architectural elegance stood out majestically on the ridge off Huntingdon Pike and the Pitcairn family moved in. Ironically, the plate glass industry that had been booming in the 1880s and early 90s was hit by the depression of 1893. Pitcairn's funds intended for the construction of the new Academy in Bryn Athyn were delayed until 1897. At first classes were held both in Huntingdon Valley in a building Pitcairn contributed to serve as clubhouse, school, and church and in Philadelphia. But new concerns over the shift to the country arose, and a reorganization of the direction of The Academy and its administration resulted in the formation of the General Church of the New Jerusalem with The Academy as its educational arm. John Pitcairn played a leading role in establishing this resolution in the spring of 1897, which was indeed a struggle with his old friend and mentor, the then Chancellor Benade.
Growth of the student body at The Academy in Bryn Athyn meant new frame housing for the expanded population in 1898 while the permanent Academy building, Benade Hall was under construction. By 1901 it was complete and the educational arm of the New Church had moved into their new home. John Pitcairn's goal of 1872 had come to fruition, but not without a coda. By 1907 the chapel in Benade Hall that served the growing congregation of local and distant church members proved too small. A building committee to address the concept of constructing a church dedicated to the "Lord in His Second Coming" met in 1907. Concepts and cost estimates were pursued and architects were investigated. In 1908, on his 67th birthday, John Pitcairn deposited $30,000 into a building fund and took over its direction to assure the building of a church. Not until 1912 was selection of an architect considered in earnest, at which point Raymond Pitcairn, John's oldest son became deeply involved in the planning and construction of what was to become the Bryn Athyn Cathedral, completed in 1926 in a Gothic Revival style. The Bryn Athyn Cathedral of the General Church of the New Jerusalem lies in a vale below Cairnwood as a Gothic symbol of Swedenborgian belief. It's towers are visible from Cairnwood and Raymond Pitcairn's later home, Glencairn.
When John Pitcairn was baptized in the Swedenborgian Church of the New Jerusalem, he became a member of a religious society that had been founded in London in 1788 based on followers of the theology, doctrine, philosophy, and scientific writings of Emanuel Swedenborg of Stockholm. In 1817 seventeen "societies" existed in America. Together that year they formed the General Convention of the New Jerusalem in the United States at Baltimore to regulate ordination and missionary work. By 1850 Swedenborgian churches had been built from member contributions and missionaries were spreading the word of spiritual truths and spiritual freedom in social, moral, and political matters.
Spiritualism and transcendentalism, especially the nature of life after death, were aspects of the religion that often attracted intellectuals, writers, and artists. One missionary, John Chapman, otherwise known as Johnny Appleseed, planted apple seeds as he traversed the Midwest spreading Swedenborgian publications while he planted.
John Pitcairn's role as a missionary was intellectually based and deeply founded in his readings of Swedenborg's writings and doctrines as well as the works of other theologians. Additionally his contacts and discussions with ministers, spiritualists, and members of the New Church during extensive European and American travels both broadened his religious understandings and furthered missionary goals. Educational ideals were fulfilled when Pitcairn helped found The Academy of the New Church in Philadelphia and supplied funding for its educational operation. He became an Academy Councilor and from there developed his vision for an enlarged educational institution outside the city.
As a church layman his commitment to different laity organizations for the New Church was life-long and eventually resulted in a donation of land and financial bequest to construct the Cathedral of Bryn Athyn. As an industrialist familiar with negotiating business deals, in 1897 it was Pitcairn who succeeded in resolving internal differences between the organization of The Academy and the New Church. The result was the establishment of an independent General Church of the New Jerusalem in Bryn Athyn that ceded from the established General Convention.
Contextually, as a post Civil War industrialist who devoted himself to his business, family, and church and funded Swedenborgian education and religious enterprises, Pitcairn can best be compared to the many industrialists of his time who endowed educational institutions. Andrew Carnegie founded Carnegie Institute, Henry Frick provided endowments to Princeton and Pittsburgh Universities, and John D. Rockefeller established the University of Chicago and Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research. Joseph Wharton, a member of the Society of Friends, supported Swarthmore College, a school directly associated with his own religion, and the business school at the University of Pennsylvania. Of these men few gave as much as Pitcairn to supporting and endowing a religious based educational institution and land and funds for construction of a uniquely crafted Gothic Revival cathedral.
In the next generation of industrial philanthropists, however, a large and landmark religious institution was erected with millions of dollars donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. for Riverside Church in Manhattan. The vision for this church stemmed not from a single devout follower, but from ongoing debates in the 1920s over modernist and fundamentalist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Fired up by sermons of Dr. Harry Fosdick of the Park Avenue Baptist Church, Rockefeller, Fosdick and a consortium of north Manhattan west side institutions committed themselves to a community based neighborhood and social reform project and the construction of a interdenominational church for which membership was simply affirmation of faith in Christ. The church was to be magnificent and large with an expansive ministry critical to the livelihood of the entire city. Costs would be offset by the sale of the Park Avenue Church. Rockefeller established a building committee and architects were sent to France and Spain to assimilate Gothic architecture for recreation in a contemporary setting. On 20 November 1927 the cornerstone was laid. A church designed on the architecture of Chartres was begun on the highest elevation in Manhattan at 120th Street and Riverside Drive. The church towers over the Hudson River with a 21-story carillon as one of New York City's most important interdenominational religious institutions. It purposely stands in an area of the city where the population is ethnically and racially mixed and has marginal economic means yet houses some of the city's most important educational institutions. Rockefeller's philanthropy funded a religious institution with an urban, social, and cultural mission. Bryn Athyn Cathedral had just been completed when Riverside Church's cornerstone was laid. Two industrialists achieved two Gothic Revival Churches in which to worship the Lord. Pitcairn's in a suburban setting outside Philadelphia, Rockefeller's in Manhattan.
Distinctive Design and Construction Characteristics of Carrere & Hastings, Architects
Cairnwood is significant as a building complex that is distinctive architecturally as a Beaux-Arts residential design of 1895 in the French chateau mode within the suburban Pennsylvania landscape. It represents the work of Carrere & Hastings, one of the two leading architectural firms on the east coast of the United States at the end of the 19th century and a firm that is said to have achieved some of the most elaborate and influential country houses in America between 1890 and 1920. Designed as a year-round house of the Gilded Age, the complex is outstanding in its design and materials.
John Pitcairn's selection of Carrere & Hastings of New York to design his home was in keeping with the expectations of a wealthy industrialist during the 1890s. Pitcairn's international travels and acquaintance with, and love for, French architecture was presumably influential in the selection process. As a Swedenborgian, he had no allegiance with the Quaker aesthetic of the Philadelphia area and may purposely have sought a firm versed in European designs. At the time, the alternate firm of choice nationally was McKim Mead & White of New York, architects whose work centered typically on Italianate patterns. Pitcairn may also have known the development endeavors of Henry Flagler, railroad and oil industrialist who hired Carrere & Hastings to design two hotels and two churches in St. Augustine, Florida, between 1886 and 1890.
John Carrere (1858-1911) and Tom Hastings (1860-1929) had firmly established themselves as architects versed in Beaux-Arts design by the 1890s. Their office was founded in 1885. They came from the firm of McKim, Mead, and White, and as a new generation of architects were enamoured and versed in historical French patterns. French prototypes such as the Petit Trianon, Hotel du Chatelet, Place des Voges, and chateaux such as Blois, Rosny and Chamarade provided inspirations and patterns. Creation of a French Renaissance residence for Pitcairn in 1892 was probably an easy step in their career before winning the competition in 1897 for their most notable achievement, the New York Public Library.
As an early and small-scale residential work of Carrere & Hastings, Cairnwood demonstrates clarity of proportion and refined eclectic classical design wrought with the use of quality American materials. The window glass even comes from the industrial plant of the owner. The combined whole retains the attributes of a significant Beaux-Arts eclectic American country house, a rarity in the Pennsylvania landscape. Within Carrere & Hastings' overall architectural achievements, the Pitcairn complex stands as one of the architect's early Edwardian residential entities. Its French architectural pattern sits in a cleanly outlined geometric design integrated into a rural landscape. Of their architectural production in Pennsylvania, this is the largest of only three residences. The firm's residential works were principally in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Two significant writings on Carrere & Hastings lend understanding to their overall philosophy, intent, and production of over 600 buildings, The monograph entitled "The Work of Messrs. Carrere & Hastings" in The Architectural Record, (January 1910, Vol. 26, no. 1) shows that between 1880 and 1910 American architectural history was influenced by the volume and variety 'of work and the formative influence of two firms from New York: McKim, Mead, & White and Carrere & Hastings. Within the context of the time, therefore, Carrere & Hastings is seen as having one significant competitor. The same article identifies clear distinctions between the firms and shows that Carrere & Hastings, due to their Beaux-Arts training and allegiance to French Renaissance designs and principles of the 18th century, has efficiently and effectively adapted French architecture to American designs, economies, and landscapes. Their ability and willingness to use local materials, plan logically based on function, select discriminatingly but merge classic architectural elements eclectically, and provide personal individuality within a building, classifies their basic architectural ideals.
Their site planning used French 18th-century garden design concepts--those that promoted social intercourse and conversation rather than nature for nature's sake. Buildings are thus placed in a well-chosen and articulated setting and then incorporated in a geometric garden plan designed for convenience and charm.
Carrere & Hastings sought to refine and distinguish public and domestic buildings across America, and in the course of their career they won competitions and commissions that have enriched American cities with some of the country's noblest and most appreciated buildings from federal complexes to small churches. Cairnwood, among the residences, stands out as a small but brilliant gem of a French manor house among the larger jewels of Massachusetts (Giraud Foster house, Lenox, 1896-1898), Rhode Island (Richard Gambrill house, Newport, 1898), and New Jersey ("Blairsden" for C. Ledyard Blair, Peapack, 1898-1903).
"The Architecture of Carrere & Hastings," by Curtis Channing Blake, a Ph.D. dissertation for Columbia University in 1976, supplies a fuller overview of the firm's chronological accomplishments and stronger clarification of their architectural style, design principles, and building types. Basic precepts of design are well defined. Site planning centers around integration of a building into its surroundings with regard to the elements, weather, and the natural landscape. They favored rectilinear designs of landscaping and garden plans as sympathetic to those of the building. Building plans were driven by purpose rather than aesthetics and aimed at efficient and economic functions. Mass was always subservient to shape and never extreme. Facades and roofs tend to express the main elements of the plan. Pavilionated elevations were frequently used, especially in later works. The composition of facades included horizontal layering of eclectic building elements. Emphasis is often on the center and at the ends of a facade. Windows tend to be grouped into vertical bays. Flat expanses of masonry and tightly delineated ornamentation usually coordinate with contrasting types of building materials. Ornament is linear rather than sculptural.
On the interior a special feature incorporated in the country houses was the use of a transverse hall, quintessential to Beaux-Arts planning. Such a hall extended left and right of the vestibule and forced the larger reception rooms toward the garden facade. To avoid interruption of space, staircases became subservient and set at the ends of such rooms. Halls were tantamount to good circulation patterns and efficiency of operation. Two-story arcaded reception rooms became a frequent pattern. Carrere & Hastings used classically ordered columns to adorn important rooms for formality and ceremony. The classical order was also used to frame functions of a space as well as circulation patterns. The number of units of bays or arcades often became a Leitmotif within a building.
Room forms were usually squares and rectangles with few intrusions; room function was critical to location. Finishes and ornamentation reflected client desire and materials, and could range from highly imitative French interiors to less formal patterns. Restfulness and repose of finishes within a composed space were critical, but similar proportions and recurring groups of architectural features became important for integration of a whole building or complex. As an early residential complex of Carrere & Hastings, Cairnwood stands as an excellent example of the architects' philosophies, designs techniques, and Beaux-Arts eclecticism. The plan and earliest rendering of the design in three dimensions published on 22 April 1893 in American Architect and Building News, Plate 904, tells the basic story (see PLAN 1). The unaltered state of the property, in its original setting on the height of a hill over one hundred years later, speaks to the enduring quality of the design and materials and the reverence for the structures in the community. The site and floor plan clarifies the formal axis of the design, the geometric setting of the gardens, terraces, drives and pathways, and the architects' use of a creative, balanced pattern (see PLAN 2). Even the terminus points at the southwest and southeast feature square belvederes to establish harmony. A touch of modernism is achieved by setting the largest building wing at an angle. The logic and functionality of the design can be traced from the location of the stables and pagoda terraces flanking the entrance gates to the position of the large service yard between the kitchen wing and garden house. Indeed, the entire smaller service wing of the residence has a separate porte cochere for immediate access to the billiard room--a special provision for Mr. Pitcairn's friends and associates.
On the interior floor plan, numerous typical Carrere & Hastings features prevail. The narrow transverse hall or corridor off the entrance loggia links the two wings and serves as the path through the house. Upon entering the building through the main entrance, however, the open arcades in this transverse hall direct one immediately into the main, two story "reception" hall. Here the majestic staircase to the second floor is located at the east end of the room so as not to break the space. Balancing it appropriately on the opposite side, a Louis XIV limestone fireplace becomes the center of attention. The use of a Leitmotif or proscribed measure of three, here manifested in three arcades of the hall in the Doric order, is mirrored on the opposite wall by three arched French doors that open to the terrace. The pattern is repeated again at the three open arches of the west porch. Other rooms in this wing, in their connecting patterns to the main hall, their proportions, and their purpose and function are all rationally realized. The one anomaly in the floor plan, that otherwise shows distinct use of rectilinear spaces, is an asymmetrical dining room with the feel of an oval. The geometric change lends special importance to a room that includes a fireplace in an angled inglenook and a trio of windows that now have a view of the tower of Bryn Athyn Cathedral.
The three-dimensional rendering (see PLAN 1) illustrates how Carrere & Hastings' two-and-a-half-story design becomes alive in space, following other traits of their practice. Most significantly the power of the structure is achieved by its position in the landscape. The tallest and strongest section of the building sits at the height of a ridge canted off axis toward the main road. All other wings or buildings are subservient in height and topographical location. As one drives north on Huntingdon Pike, Cairnwood dominates the skyline, further articulated in the vast green lawn that lies before it by the "pavilionated" effect of a long walled and balustered terrace. The mass of each building section is reticent and balanced, diminishing in proportion from the west to the east. In true fashion, Carrere & Hastings allows the viewer to read the floor plan through the facades and roof lines of the residence. The eclecticism of the building's features--all different classic architectural patterns and designs associated with windows and doors--allows this to happen throughout the facades. Openings are often defined horizontally and then handled differently in vertical bays of twos or threes.
Arches, rectangles, squares, oculi, and ovals, all with various muntin patterns, intertwine in appropriate rhythms and articulations.
Of the three basic building blocks, the tallest and widest western section with its end extensions stands under a steeply pitched hipped roof. On the facades, arches distinguish the open first floor porch; rectangular French doors under a small balcony mark the living room to the south. The narrower, lower middle section of the building balances the larger end through the large peaked octagonal tower in the southeast corner. Round-headed windows at third-floor height in the tower mark the Pitcairn chapel as it soars toward the heavens. Rectangular windows on the first and second floor light the main staircase. For balance, at the southwest corner a smaller, round, stair tower corbels upward from the second floor to define a pathway to the third floor dormered rooms.
Between these towers three arches with double French doors are topped by oval windows to define the two-story reception hall space. The last section of the building is the lowest and simplest and houses the service areas of the residence. Smaller nearly square undistinguished windows seem routine. But at the western corner, adjoining the tower, a separate two-story, peak-roofed extension stands forward. Here Carrere & Hastings have allowed new fenestration patterns on both floors to define the main dining room and the large nursery above. The clarity and function of the building is thus defined through outside facade and structural treatment, a design method followed on the garden house and stable as well.
The color palette of the building materials and the combination of masonry, brick, and slate add to the individuality of this building complex in its use of Beaux-Arts architectural traditions within the rural landscape. The high, peaked roofs of gray-green slate, punctuated with copper flashing at roof terminations, contrasts distinctly with the orange-colored Roman brick of the facades. But the rusticated or ornamental buff limestone masonry that articulates each window, door, or corner with various size quoins and stones adds a third shade and dimension to the entire building. The architects were known for their flat building ornamentation, and short of three projecting balconies, this is found at Cairnwood. Flat does not mean without some projection, depth and shadow, for it is these effects of the varied stone cutting techniques and patterns that supply texture, color, and dimension to the flat brickwork. Later buildings of Carrere & Hastings, such as the Frick residence on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, often use larger flat expanses of masonry, but here the creation of small chateaux in the countryside lent itself to an opportunity for elaboration.
The Beaux-Arts traditions of interior plaster ornamentation, cornice work, arcaded and columned reception rooms, and finely paneled woodwork in libraries and living rooms are all carried out in high style on the first floor of Cairnwood. The architects' typical use of paired columns to announce a two story space where the staircase is seen in the distance is illustrated in this early work. The technique was repeated only a few years later in the New York Public Library. Detailing of the reception hall using various elements of the classic order throughout the staircase, facades, and balcony balustrades achieves an impressive space reminiscent of a fine European hall.
As a residence designed by Carrere & Hastings in Pennsylvania, Cairnwood is one of a total of three buildings executed in the state. Dr. Lewis Ziegler's Haverford residence was demolished at the beginning of the century, and Robert Pitcairn's residence in Pittsburgh from 1893 has not yet been identified. Carrere & Hastings only known building in Pennsylvania contrasts significantly in design and materials with works of architects of the Philadelphia School from this period.
William Price, for instance, designed "Woodmont" for steel magnate Alan Wood of Gladwyne in 1891. The monolithic Gothic Revival crenelated building in gray stone, topped with red terra cotta roof tiles, stands majestically in an undisturbed landscape overlooking the site of Wood's former industrial plant on the Schuylkill. Only one out building aligns with the mansion. Others are scattered and not tied to a formal geometric plan. Eclecticism of Gothic, Romanesque and Medieval architectural elements characterizes the rather ponderous ornament of the building's facade. Clear patterns, rhythms, and clarity of room spaces are indiscernible from the exterior. Price's structure was designed to make a statement in its setting and by use of a dramatic height in the interior two-story central stairhall. Heavy, dark woodwork, tapestried walls, and cumbersome ceiling plasterwork contrasts markedly with the light, geometric, Beaux Arts interiors at Cairnwood. While Price's design is unique and wrought with craftsmanship, Cairnwood's timeless classic vocabulary, gracious lines, and refined proportions establishes a more finely cut gem.
Horace Trumbauer (1868-1938), a self-trained architect from Philadelphia, produced a series of buildings in Elkins Park for William Lukens Elkins and Peter A. B. Widner who shared a monopoly on the street care and trolley business in Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago. Additionally as residential developers they further supported their own transportation enterprise. Homes for their children or own families, however, tended to be larger than what they built to sell. So it was that in 1896 Trumbauer designed a mansion for son George Elkins known as Chelten House. For this building Trumbauer chose an Elizabethan style, using half-timbering and pebble dash finishes mainly on the upper floors, Wissahickon schist at the foundation and first floors. Here, as at Cairnwood, Indiana limestone accents door and window surrounds. The main rectangular block features a large stone porte cochere at one end and two angled extensions with lower roof lines at the other. The building harbors Victorian asymmetry through various gable extensions, porches, and dormers on the front facade. The mixture of shapes is tied together with a continuous raised, balustraded porch with a monumental central staircase. The interior is smaller than Cairnwood, but elegantly decorated with English Renaissance woodwork and ceilings. Stables, greenhouses, a courtyard, a half-timbered one-story casino, a shed with dovecoat, and pond make up the surrounding landscape. Between Cairnwood and Chelten House the styles could not be more contrasting. A point of similarity can be found, however. Both architects strove for quality building materials and fine details in construction and design. A sense of quality, honesty of materials, and durability of construction is strong in both of these differing residences.
Trumbauer shifted styles, easily, however, and for William 1. Elkins' Elstowe on the neighboring property, he created an Italian style Renaissance villa based on a classically ornamented central middle section with a low hipped roof and two symmetrical wings. Indiana limestone, both rusticated and smooth, bears a parallel to Cairnwood. Classic features include entry arcades, columns, a balustraded porch, heavy roof bracketry and dentils, rounded headed windows, and masonry balconies. Trumbauer used an Italian Renaissance prototype and recreated it in Elkins Park. Cairnwood represents a French Renaissance chateau with Beaux-Arts styling and incorporates the less typically used iron spotted Roman pressed brick.
Architects such as Frank Furness, Addison Hutton, and Wilson Eyre were likewise producing residential architecture on the Main Line, in Chestnut Hill, or the surrounding suburbs in the last decade of the 19th century. Each had an individual style ranging from quirky industrialism, to austere, stone Quaker, and streamlined shingle and stone. Few left their imprint of French Beaux-Arts traditions on the Pennsylvania landscape as well as Carrere and Hastings did at Cairnwood.
Today, Cairnwood, the former residence of John Pitcairn in Bryn Athyn, represents the product of the prominent architectural firm of Carrere & Hastings of New York and the ideals and prosperity of its owner, a 19th-century industrialist and devotee of the Swedenborgian religion. Cairnwood's exposed setting, rich and intact architectural fabric, and European-style design provide unqualified character and importance to the community. The French Renaissance styling, Indiana limestone, and Roman brick, create a distinctive building unequalled in the environs where smaller traditional stone and stucco farmhouses or suburban dwellings dot the landscape. John Pitcairn's achievements as a self-taught and innovative industrialist are equally noteworthy through his leadership of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company and the philanthropic and architectural founding of Bryn Athyn. His land purchases established a community structured in support of the Swedenborgian theology of the General Church of the New Jerusalem with an accompanying educational Academy that teaches Kindergarten through theology school. His wealth and the continued contributions of his sons and later descendants has furthered the community and strengthened the architectural, theological and cultural goals of the members of the New Church. Cairnwood remains significant as the residence of John Pitcairn, industrialist and supporter of The Academy of the New Church and the General Church of the New Jerusalem and for the architectural mastery of Carrere & Hastings.
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