2007

2007



My name is Mariella Bianchi, born in Celano and now living in Sydney, Australia. One of my best fiend's surname is Ciaccia. Her name is Teresa Ciaccia and she also was born in Celano. Moved to Australia but now lives in Rome. There a a number of Ciaccias in Celano. I wonder if they are part of the family tree Regards.
Mariella Bianchi Mariella47@aol.com
Sydney, Australia - Dec 29, 2007 at 11:23 PM EST


Hi Gerry, How are you? I have enjoyed your site, but it's been a long time. I checked in last night and found your guest book to be somewhere in the middle of 2005. I trust all is well with you. My name is Estelle, you used to talk to me on ICQ. I had a genuine interest in you and I still do. You had just lost your mom and you were single. That was years ago. Please drop me a note. I would love to hear from you. I got married over a year ago.... he is a wonderful man.
Estelle Nix  enix@shaw.ca
Canada - Dec 2, 2007 at 1:22 AM EST


hello. I came across your website by accident one day and have become fascinated by Whitemarsh Hall. I was just curious if you have new photos you will be updating the website with. I think you have done a fantastic job & would love to see more about Whitemarsh Hall.
Michelle Fields gmfields6@alltel.net
USA - Nov 29, 2007 at 10:58PM EST


This is a very moving presentation. I live in Oreland since many years and come from Europe. I could never understand why the young people were so destructive there. It always made me very sad! I sensed the beauty of this place. I was so hopeful that there would be a buyer out there and would find some use for this property! This would not have happened in Europe I believe. It was a very sad day for me when I learned it was to be destroyed to make room for ordinary houses. There were also housing. other beautiful places in our area which also were destroyed to make room for housing and I never understood why all the trees had to be destroyed to make room for new housing. I believe this has changed a bit.
Magdalena Piranian MagdaPiranian@aol.com
Tvlindep@aol.com
Oreland, PA USA - Nov 26, 2007 at 11:18 AM EST


Gerry: Hello. I just wanted to drop you a short note and tell you how much I enjoyed your website dedicated to Whitemarsh Hall. As a historian (who also happens to have a passion for architecture) I have spent the better part of two nights devouring the information, recollections, and photos pertaining to this once palatial estate. I was at once enthralled by photos and stories of the home in its former glory days, and equally appalled at the horrific vandalism that brought its demise. The loss of this magnificent structure to future generations is on a par with the loss of the famed Pennsylvania Station in New York, in my humble opinion. Thank you for keeping the memory of this glorious structure alive.
John Depenbush jdepenbusch@yahoo.com
USA - Nov 20, 2007 at 10:38PM EST


GREAT SITE! I was fortunate to have visited the house before demolition while in college in the late 70s. It was already in decline but still an absolutely awe inspiring experience. A fascinating experience that I have never forgotten. I am still shocked that nothing more was done to save such a great monument and tribute to an age past. Let's hope Lynnewood can be saved. I met Alfred Branam, architectural historian and Trumbauer expert many years ago in Philadelphia while doing research on Trumbauer. I am hoping you or some of your site visitors may know of his whereabouts? I have photos of the place somewhere if you are interested. They were taken on a cold, gloomy, rainy day in the early winter if 1978 I believe.

George Wanner  Glw3design@aol.com
Pittsburgh, PA & Scottsdale, AZ USA - Nov 11, 2007 at 10:07 AM EST


Gerry, Great site. I too fell under the spell of Whitemarsh Hall many years ago and still feel drawn to it even though it isn't standing anymore. Someone was asking about some of the broken statues, I found them at a shop near peddlers' village called the Duck & Dolphin. He purchased them as a lot and still has them. I was wondering if anyone knows who owns the gatehouse now. If they do please contact me. Thanks,
Mike Bonacci Mbonacci@comcast.net
USA - Oct 26, 2007 at 2:42 PM EST


hello gerry, long time! hey i have for you pictures of stotesberrys car witch i found when i was visiting Las Vegas a year ago the car was recently sold for 250.000.00 and it was completly restored the car dates to 1925 build by durum, sedan in bryn mawr PA also i have a artical of the inside pictures of his home in main i will email them to you what a direct email i can send these pictures to you. cheers
william Kelly Oneill chefwoooneill@yahoo.com
USA - Oct 18, 2007 at 9:53 AM EST


Fantastic site! I grew up in east Cheltenham attended C.H.S. and never took the time to check out Stotebury before it was redeveloped. Your site answered all my questions. I loved the topagraphic map. Please keep the site going it is a great reference. Thank you.
Dan doneill@productdynamics.com
Willow Grove, Pa. USA - Oct 15, 2007 at 12:25 PM EST


The scrippelle (crepes in chicken broth) gnomes have finally arrived from Abruzzo, Italy! We locked them in the kitchen and they are hard at work preparing the food for the Valle San Giovanni luncheon at noon on Sunday, 7 October 2007 at DiPaolo's Italian Ristorante in Penns Grove, NJ. All "Vallaroli" (people from La Valle, i.e. Valle San Giovanni), their guests and friends are welcome. Reservations appreciated but not mandatory, just pay $20 at the door. Buon appetito!
Siamo contentissimi dirvi che gli gnomi vallaroli sono definitivamente arrivati in America d'Abruzzo. L'avvenimento annuo "pranzo vallarolo" avra' luogo domenica 7 ottobre al Ristorante Italiano Di Paolo, a Penns Grove, Nuova Jersey. Vedi anche: www.vallesangiovanni.it Tutti i vallaroli, i loro ospiti ed amici sono invitati. Un biglietto solo 14 euro.
Valle San Giovanni In Abruzzo Italy  ulissi1@verizon.net
Penns Grove, NJ USA - Oct 6, 2007 at 6:54 AM EST 


I was so happy to find this site! I haven't thought about Stotesberry Mansion for sometime ,last night for some strange reason , I had a dream about the mansion, and I wanted to find out if anybody had restored it to the grand specimen that it once was,(in my dream that is what happened.) I haven't lived in Philly for 31 years . Every once and awhile I will think of that place. I also ventured to the mansion with my friends , I was reminded of the Great Gatsby, (probably because that movie was out about that same time.) I never went inside though ,I was to chicken. My favorite spot was the fountain area with the grand staircase on either side. I do have a question I thought he was buried on his property is that true? If so was his grave area left intact? It seems I remember some area that was his grave area. I am saddened to think that it no longer exists, even though , when I was there in the late 60's and early70's the rapping had already started. I do have fond memories of the place, it seems there are quite a few of us who enjoyed fantasizing about the mansions past. Thank-you for photographing the tired old lady.
Nancy Swanson Carter Gatorbride@aol.com
Minneapolis, MN  USA - Oct 4, 2007 at 3:27AM EST


Incredible site you have put together. I spent many a day on the grounds and in the buildings of the mansion while growing up in Flourtown and Oreland Peace and Respect,
Mark L Swift mswift@gnt.net
United Lighting and Supply
Fort Walton Beach, FL USA - Sept 17, 2007 at 5:30PM EST


I am sorry to see such a wonderful and majestic building be left to detiriate as this one was. The world has lost to many fine building to the wrecking hammer in the name of progress. Thank you for the work you have done on this project. With out people like your self these buildings just become forgotten memories to some and lost to others. Regards,Freedom is NOT free. You must believe in a Higher Being, in spite of what the Clergy say!
Ken Taylor krt1@iprimus.com.au
Australia - Aug 18, 2007 at 12:22 PM EST


I fancy myself a Philadelphia historian and guide. I've written books on Philly and produced video tours. But the field of "Philadelphia history" is amazingly rich and broad. I only knew almost nothing about Stotesbury and remember vaguely a few news articles about the fate of Whitemarsh Hall. Well, no one can know it all. Your site has filled in a huge gap in my knowledge of the city and its important personalities. And now I want to know a lot more about Stotesbury and his wealth. I wonder if Nemours - outside of Wilimington with more than 100 rooms - is a match for Whitemarsh. I also wonder if his Rittenhouse Square mansion is still standing.
Ron Avery averyron@verizon.net
Philadelphia, PA USA - Aug 6, 2007 at 3:49 PM EST


Hello Gerry, Attached are a few photos of a piece of the Mansion that was given to me. This is a wing and hand section of one of the mansion archway angels. The hand is. holding what appears to be a branch of lilies.  As you know, all of the archway angels above the windows were. different. I am not sure which window this one came. from. My cousin, who has had it in her garden for over 25 years gave it to me. She got it from a friend of hers who lived directly behind the mansion and this piece rolled down and wound up in her backyard during the demolition. She gave it to my cousin and my cousin gave it to me. My cousin’s father worked at the mansion during its heyday. This is large piece and it is really heavy. I wish I had a more complete piece but it still holds a lot of detail and history. Not too bad for something that is over 80 years old I have also included a photo of the pillars that I took last winter. It was a clear blue sky that day and the pillars looked great against it. In addition, I have attached a photo of the chandelier that was for sale on ebay that was supposedly from the breakfast room. I don’t know if you saw the chandelier but it is definitely worth a look. I have more photos of the chandelier and if you would like to see the rest of them let me know.  Regards,
Joe Fanelli jsfmt99@yahoo.com
 USA - Aug 2, 2007 at 1:04 AM EST

Hello, Gerry nice to met you, very nice website great job, do you have any info on workers my great grandmom hire men to haul haul stone and dirt to build the whitemarsh hall name was reardon and brothers any info please email me.
john reardon marie1934@comcast.net
USA - Aug 1, 2007 at 8:52 PM EST


THANK YOU for the fabulous web site, historically depicting the 'riches to rags' story of Whitemarsh Hall and the Stotes legend! Fascinating! Great stuff.
D. Michael Blackie, Publicist teamhuntingpark@gmail.com
Philadelphia, PA USA - Jul 21, 2007 at 2:40AM EST


I live on Douglas Road where the guard house still stands. The current owner has renovated and made many exterior improvements as well. New landscaping and trees that screen the house from Willow Grove Avenue. Whenever I come home I pass through the pillars. The development where I live, is Whitemarsh Village; the homes were built in the late 40s. A very few of the original residents are still here, including Sylvia and Monty Croll, who live across the street from me. I am sure you know much of this history.
www.jeankirshenbaum.com
Jean Kirshenbaum jean@jeankirshenbaum.com
Wyndmoor, PA USA - Jul 17, 2007 at 11:06 AM EST


I was looking at your surname list and saw two names that I am researching: Cristinzio & Falcone. My Cristinzio family comes from Monteroduni, Italy & the Falcone branch comes from Palombara, Italy. Can you tell me where those two names fit into your surname list? Thank you for your time.
Denise A. McGlinchey bookworm105@comcast.net
USA - Jul 6, 2007 at 7:34 PM EST


Gerry, Someday I hope we can meet face-to-face. You remind me of myself when I was 10 and 11 years old and exploring nearby mansions in my neighborhood of North Attleboro, Mass. that are 1/10th the size of Whitemarsh Hall. I came across your website while researching Horace Trumbauer, a personal favorite architect of mine who designed The Elms on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, RI http://www.newportmansions.org/. My entry into your guest book is similar to so many others (thanks, great job, etc.) that I won't repeat all those comments. I've passed your website hyperlink to many others. Best regards, My Website: www.McGowanRealtor.com
RE/MAX First Realty, Inc.
Bill McGowan McGowanRealtor@aol.com
Waltham, MA USA - Jul 6, 2007 at 9:57 AM EST


gerry, thanks for saving this short-lived period of history! i am back for a family visit to wyndmoor and wanted to share these similiar memories and sentiments of my teens in the late seventies exploring the estate with my wife. we were the last to imagine in it's splendor!
steve sagin ssagin@mac.com
USA - Jul 1, 2007 at 8:10 PM EST


Hi there, don't know if this is still active? Anyway, I came across your sight after doing some research. I'm reading American Empress, and they mention the estate. So sad, I actually felt sick when I saw the house in the 70s and the demolition, and what they have built there. All's I can say is that is it so American, what happened in the end to that beautiful place.
P patrickdelanty@gmail.com
USA - May 29, 2007 at 4:54 PM EST


Gerry While investigating my family tree, I came upon yours. My maiden name was Sirianni. Paternal grandparents were Francis Sirianni and Maria Talarico. Both from Calabria. Wonder if we could be related? Any upstate NY descendants?
Maria Sirianni Allen MAllen8401@aol.com
USA - May 12, 2007 at 8:27 PM EST


Dear Gerry I enjoyed reading about Stotesbury Mansion. Gerry, I grew up in Springfield Twp in the 60’s and remember the building fondly. I appreciate and thank you for taking the time to gather all this information.
Josephs, Mitchell, MBS Mitchell.Josephs@mortgagefamily.com
USA - May 11, 2007 at 2:53 PM EST


just saw your photos amazing reserach i visited the grounds on halloween of 79 but we were chased by the cops its a shame the goverment could not save this beautiful home thanks for the memories god blessK Keithmoon605@aol.com
USA - May 3, 2007 at 12:12 PM EST


Gerry, Saw your Stotesbury Site (great site) and then your Serianni segment of your family tree. I graduated from SHS in 1968 and used to gaze out of the English class windows (new wing, next to tennis courts) to the top of the hill at Stotesbury - just praying that we could have our Senior Prom, up there = NOPE. I traveled the same tunnels, were on the fountains, stairways and main entrance, as you. It was a really cool place. I always blamed Pennwalt (?) for the disrepair that it finally became, before the wrecking ball. I did know Lou Serianni, who was associated (with my Dad) with the Oreland Lions Club, Sinclair Gas Station in Oreland. And to a Dick (1968) who lived in Wyndmoor (Buddy to Billy Sherwood) - he also had an older Bro (Jim, 1966?) - I surmised that you are from Lou's Clan? Thanks Gerry, for your many hours of time you spent on the Stotesbury's yester-years, originally from Oreland + North Hills, now living in SE Florida (50 miles north of the other Stotesbury 'Summer House', in West Palm Beach).
Jack Hogan (class of 1968) jackinfla1591@comcast.net
West Palm Beach, Fl USA - May 1, 2007 at 12:33 AM EST


Mr. Serianni, Good Morning. I grew up in Willow Grove and was able to see the estate just before it was demolished. Seems it's a historical and architectural loss. Though it's images still inspire interest. I am in search of information about the civil engineer work that took place at Whitemarsh Hall. According to my family members, my grandfather, Edward Quinn, had involvement with the Civil Engineer work that went on during the construction days. I'm hoping to find some confirmation of this through documents or other sources. My mother says there are blue prints in possesion of one of my relatives and I'm tracking the lead to see if they are still available. Aside of this possible lead, are there any directions you can offer to find who was involved with the Civil Engineer work? It would be great interest to me and my family. Do you still receive emails regarding the estate? If you find anything or know of any source I should refer to for further research on who performed the civil engineer work on the Whitemarsh Hall please let me know. Thank you for developing the web site for all to enjoy. Sincerely
MSgt Robert Quinn robert.quinn@yokota.af.mil
Superintendent, Plans & Programming
Yokota, Japan - Apr 6, 2007 at 12:57 AM EST


Dear Gerry, First, I must thank you on your excellent website...I never saw it, but I can appreciate beautiful things, and America's fine, and lost, history. I grew up in the small town of South San Francisco, California (now home to Genentech). I lived next door to the Eduardian Stick Victorian mansion of one the town founders...Thomas Hickey, and across the street from the Queen Anne mansion of the other founder, a Mr. Martin. Well, they tore down the Hickey mansion for a parking lot for a church in the mid 1960's (both structures having been build in 1892). I fought to save the other mansion as I could, but they eventually tore it down in 1975. So much history lost. Well, eventually I discovered The Carolands, a large, beautiful mansion in Hillsborough, California. They were going to tear it down. I fought and fought...eventually, The Friends of the Chateau delayed the demolition long enough until it could be saved and restored by a wonderful family. Here are a couple of websites about it:

   

I ended up moving away from the Bay Area, and settling in NW Louisiana. Although I could NEVER afford something so grand as Carolands, or Whitemarsh Hall, I have settled on saving my own bit of history. I bought a very old house...Huey P. Long is said to have stayed here, the Civil War was fought around here, and it is said to be haunted. The town has burned down around the house twice. Lots of history...lots of fun. Again, may I thank you for saving the memories of Whitemarsh Hall. I showed your excellent website to a friend just the other day. He was enthralled until he got to the Demolition pages...then he cried...as we all must. Take care. I have included a couple pics of my house, front and back...plus a view from the bank by the Red River.
Mike Nomellini mnomel55@yahoo.com
USA - Mar 17, 2007 at 4:11 PM EST


What an incredibly moving Web site. I am haunted by the photos but also dismayed by the misspelled words and poor punctuation in the narrative throughout. Please have an editor clean up the copy, especially the most egregious and frequent error---the misspelling of its (possessive pronoun) as it's (contraction for it is).
Carol Kipp kwriter4@comcast.net
USA - Feb 23, 2007 at 8:33 PM EST


Gerry,  Thank you so very much for the wonderful website about "Whitemarsh Hall". I found it while looking for related information about my favorite mansion (Vizcaya - James Deering estate in South Miami). I found the loss of "Whitemarsh Hall" disturbing! I can only think that this loss is at many levels - the building of this grand place was what I consider a true art form. The Donald Trump's and the late Aaron Spellings of the world with all their money could never come close to building anything like "Vizcaya" or "Whitemarsh Hall". Thanks again,
Donna Schleich schleicd@oclc.org
USA - Feb 16, 2007 at 12:37 PM EST


As a young man, my friends and I would go to the mansion late at night and often at our own peril would explore the inside late at night This was in the mid to late 70’s. Thanks for putting this site up, I have been able to show my children what it looked like. Regards,
David Fondots davidfondots@verizon.net
USA - Jan 29, 2007 at 7:54 PM EST


I would just like to say thank you for the tremendous work you have done so far documenting this fantastic piece of lost heritage. I think it is a shame that during the years with all the multi-millionaires and even billionaires, that not one of them took up the challenge to ensure this masterpiece was kept as (one of) their private homes, and was kept for the generations to come. As can be seen with many of the grand estates in Europe, they are 2-300 years old, yet have with maintenance and care survived for future generations to admire. I can only imagine, that had Bill Gates lived and had his fortune back in the early 60's, Whitemarsh Hall had possibly survived. Although his home is quite a piece of work worth admiration by todays standards, it barely gets past the main gate of Whitemarsh Hall. As a child, I moved from Copenhagen, Denmark to Massapequa Park on Long Island due to my fathers work. I was just 2 years old when we moved there, and we moved back to Denmark 7 years later (this was between autumn '68 and summer '75). I enjoy very reading about the glorious old days when the wealthy realized their dreams and weren't frightened of showing the world just HOW wealthy they were..not like many of the wealthy today. I have seen and read about a great deal of beautiful estates on Long Island that have been lost over the years....such a shame that the outstanding craftsmanship has been lost to modern less inspiring and admirable buildings and architecture. Well, that was beside the point....but I would like once again to thank you for your work. I have put your site on my favourites list, so I can read about Whitemarsh Hall from time to time and see if there is anything new. Best regards,
Peter Larsen peter_larsen@esenet.dk
Esbjerg, Denmark - Jan 24, 2007 at 11:15 AM EST


I don't know how I stumbled upon your site in early 2006, but once I did, I became instantly hooked. I read and re-read until I became obsessed with White Marsh Hall. I read everything I could find on the Internet about that magnificent home, and always returned to your site for more. After months of exhaustive study on the Internet, I found some books that were very helpful. Michael C. Kathren's "American Splendor" has wonderful photos that I did not find in my computer search. Even better was a much less expensive book entitled "Whitemarsh Hall" by Charles C. & Edward C. Zwicker. My obsession didn't end with Internet research and books. I bought a "Home! Super Home Suite" architectural program for a school project and, using the floor plans on your site and all the photos at my disposal, constructed a virtual White Marsh Hall on my computer. The program allows me to build in 3-D and add all the architectural elements, such as flooring, windows, columns, pilasters, fireplaces, etc,. The program also allows me to take a virtual tour through the interior of the house as I build. All I can say is, the house is immense! Even using a 1/4" - 1 foot scale, I can get a good feel for the size of the house with the program. Armed with the knowledge gained from months of research, I finally visited the actual site while on a drive trip to Massachusetts this summer. It was drizzling when my partner and I pulled up and parked across the street from the portico and so we didn't spend as much time as I would have liked. The paving stones inside the portico were covered by a deep puddle of rain water so we had to skirt around it. I don't know why that was such a disappointment, but it troubled me a lot. I guess I was disappointed because I'd driven 600 miles and, instead of climbing the steps and striding across the portico as though I was walking into the house, I had to skirt the portico altogether. Anyway, I found myself on the large grassy open space and wandered about, imagining the entry hall and stairway to be here, the ballroom there, Mrs. Stotesbury's library over there, and one of the rotundas to be just about here. With soaking wet feet, I ventured along the terrace to the single belvedere and then descended the steps to the fountain. With your photos clearly in mind, I sat on the remains of the statue in the fountain grotto and wished we had brought a camera. That probably would have been the only photo I took. From there we wandered over to the retaining wall and explored its length. We reached the end and were on our way back to the portico when the rain intensified, so we raced back to the car, drove around what had once been the estate and then headed back to I-95. I must say I'm glad to have actually visited the site, though it was a bit saddening since White Marsh Hall is only a ghost of its former self. Still, one can wander about that grass covered tomb beyond the portico and envision what White Marsh Hall must have been in its halcyon days. Thank you so much for opening up what has become an endless source of fascination for me.
Justin W. Herman micadee@carolina.rr.com
Charlotte, NC USA - Jan 15, 2007 at 10:10 PM EST


Hello Congratulations. Great site and good documentation. I can feel the nostalgia in your comments and in the pictures you posted. I’ve never been to that place; neither did I hear about it before today, but what a great loss its destruction is. I’ve always loved buildings that tell more about past history and lifestyle than words. The most amazing place I’ve visited so far is the Vaulx Le Vicomte château in the suburbs of Paris, France. Whitemarsh Hall reminded me of that. Sincerely,
Fabien fabien.teulieres@dptechnology.com
Los Angeles, CA USA - Jan 8, 2007 at 6:11 PM EST