“Everything in this House is Broken”

“Everything in this House is Broken!” Those are the words my daughter used after being rescued from a locked bathroom in the Neebor Lee house early this winter.  It is a phrase that she would repeat several times after she moved into the house following the expiration of the lease to her Philadelphia apartment. She…

A Chandelier and a Table

I’ve been slow to post lately.  Life keeps changing, with those changes oftentimes serving as distractions from our restoration projects.  Not all of these distractions are bad. In fact, the latest has to be as pleasant as a distraction can be; that is, if you can even call it a distraction at all (which it…

To be SOLD by Public Vendue

According to Webster’s Dictionary, “vendue” means “public auction”. Such was the method that was used to sell the Neebor Lee house and property in 1786.  If you recall the story from an earlier post, the two-story stone farmhouse was built by Peter Horning  just the year before, in 1785, as a father-son colonial for the…

Windows, Screens, Shutters, Bars and Groundhogs

The summer is more than halfway done and lots of work still remains to be done here at the Neebor Lee house.  I admit that I started the summer slowly, in large part due to a rotator cuff injury which was slow to heal.  It was an old injury, a result of a fall down…

Father, Son and Holy Ghost

One of the important items to come out of the struggle to save the Neebor Lee from demolition in the early 1970s was a statement on the historical and architectural significance of that old home that was prepared in support of an application to list the home on the Federal Register of Historic Places.  The statement along with the completed Historic…

The Admiral’s Last War

On a cold January day in 1967 a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer arrived at the Neebor Lee house to interview retired Rear Admiral  Ross Palmer Whitemarsh and his wife, the former Rebecca Gumbes. The interview was to appear in the Sunday edition of the paper and was to be a public interest story focusing on the…

Bringing the Lodge back to Life

The “Lodge” is by far the most interesting building on the Neebor Lee property. It was first constructed sometime in the mid to late-1800s as a playhouse on the Broadview Mansion property, complete with a stage for children’s puppet shows. On its roof was a wood platform, perhaps used for stargazing.  In 1903, this 25…

More on John Ramsay…

John Ramsay has caused a bit of a stir in Westchester County, New York.  After discovering the plaque on the front lawn of the Neebor Lee property with his name stamped on it, I sent an email to a historian who wrote about a “Ramsay Mill” on “Mill Brook” in “Oscawana” in a 2012 blog. …

Who is John Ramsay?

Today, on this Presidents’ Day holiday, my wife was inspecting the daffodils that are emerging along the edge of our front porch when she discovered a mysterious copper plaque attached to a small concrete block. This concrete block was sitting next to the last stone of the stone walkway leading up to the Neebor Lee’s…

The Sad Tale of the Broadview Mansion

It’s been some time (about a year) since I wrote specifically about the history of the Neebor Lee house and its surroundings.  Now that the construction season has wound down (although work on the Mason Lodge continues), I thought that I would take this opportunity to write about the Broadview Mansion, the long-gone sister building to…

Something New, with Some Things Old

It’s done.  Well, almost done; the electrical service still needs to be added. However, all other construction has been completed and the Neebor Lee’s workshop building has come back to life! It was an expensive undertaking for such a little building (around $17K) but well worth the cost since I now have a safe place to store…

Windows and Stones

The construction of the new workshop building continues, and so far everything is looking good. The foundation, which was not present beneath the original 113 year old structure, has been completed and the framing of the new structure is nearly complete.  In parallel, I continue to work on window restoration, soliciting the help of my daughter for some…