Photo: Lakeside, circa 1728, 20 North Main Street, Yardley; Jack E. Boucher, photographer, June 1989, Historic American Building Survey, [HABS NO. PA-5496]. www.loc.gov, accessed July 2023. Probably built for William Yardley from an earlier log cabin.
Lakeside [†] is one of the earliest homes in the area. Located on the edge of the town of Yardley, the completed house predates the platting of the town by almost eighty years. The house was part of the Yardley family's grist mill property, and thus was the homestead of the towns founding family. Lakeside is also significant architecturally as an example of an earlier, stone residence executed in the Georgian style.
Date(s) of erection: 1728. The main block of the house has a date stone towards the front of the southeast side elevation which reads "W Y 1728." However, it is believed that the 1728 residence was added to the front of an earlier log residence which is incorporated into the current rear wing. The glazed porch or conservatory has scratched into the glass the inscription "LYW 1869." It was probably at this time that changes where made to the interior detailing as well.
The property on which the house sits was part of a 519 acre tract of land purchased by William Yeardley (later spelled Yardley) from William Penn for 10 pounds sterling in 1682. It was obtained by William Yardley's nephew, Thomas Yardley in 1702. From Thomas it passed onto his heir, Thomas II; from him to Courtland Yardley, onto his brother, William and eventually onto Susan J. Yardley, the wife of Algernon S. Cadwallader.
The initials in the date stone, W Y, indicate that the house was built by/for William Yardley.
Original plans and construction: It is possible that the original house is incorporated into what is now the rear wing of the house. Local legend has it that John Brock's log house was enclosed in the current building and that the main block was added to the front. This original section was probably a single room with a large fireplace for cooking and a boxed winder stairway. The main house probably consisted of a center hall with parlors to either side in the front, with a stair hall behind the west room and a smaller chamber behind the east room.
Alterations and additions: The glazed porch or conservatory was added to the southeast side elevation, entered from the front south parlor in 1869 (according to the inscription in the glass). It was probably at this time, or shortly thereafter, that some remodeling occurred in this room. Corbelled fireplace supports in the basement indicated there were originally corner fireplaces. Thus, a wall between the front parlor and smaller rear chamber was removed along with a corner fireplace in each room, and the freestanding fireplace with archways between what is now the living room and an open library was added. New, Victorian era mantels were also added here and in the west front room, the current dining room. Also, symmetrically molded trim with bull's eye corner blocks now surrounds the doorways and windows. Cornice molding was also added. In the rear wing, which probably predates the main block, the boxed stairway was removed. A modern kitchen has since been added to the rear of this section, and a former porch area at its southeast elevation has been enclosed.
In July of 1682 William Yeardley (later spelled Yardley) came to Pennsylvania from England with his wife, three sons and a servant. A Quaker minister, Yardley and his family came to America seeking religious freedom. Upon his arrival he purchased of William Penn, a 519 acre tract for the sum of 10 pound sterling upon which he erected a dwelling. They were here twenty years when a small pox epidemic struck, taking the lives of the entire family.
The property was passed onto William's nephew, Thomas Yardley who came from England to make his claim. Due to the fear of Spreading small pox, William Yardley's house was burned. Thomas evidently erected his own house and prospered here. By 1710 he had established the first ferry service across the Delaware River here, known as "Yardley's Ferry." The area was little more than a scattering of farmsteads at that time. It would be some time yet before the platting of the town in 1807. In 1728 Thomas was able to erect a large home in the Georgian style of the period. A few years later, in 1832 he purchased the adjoining mill established some years prior by John Brock. Thomas expanded and improved the then existing mill which was later rebuilt by his son, also named Thomas, in 1769. The house remained in the Yardley family for many years, passing from Thomas Yardley to his son, Thomas II;to Courtland Yardley, to his brother, William VIII and then to Susan J. Yardley. Susan married Algernon S. Cadwallader and thus the property passed on into that family by the 1870's.
In the meantime, the town — known first as Yardleyville — was platted in 1807, and several lots laid out for development along the main street. Growth was spurred by the completion of the Bristol-New Hope Canal which brought added commerce through the town. Later, the Reading Railroad would pass through Yardleyville beginning in 1876. The name was shortened to Yardley in 1883 with the establishment of the Post Office. The Yardley Mill continued its operations on the edge of town well into the 20th century, finally closing 1926.
Architectural character: The current house is a blending of early Georgian design with later elements of Victorian era styling. As typical of many of the historic residences of this region, the house probably incorporates a simpler, settlement era dwelling house (although investigation would be required to substantiate this). Its size and level of detail make the house one of the more substantial of the period, obviously the residence of persons of means.
† Historic American Buildings Survey document, Lakeside, [HABS PA-5496], 1989, Washington D.C., www.loc.gov
Main Street North