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Rocky Crest 2003

Landscape architect:
Sears, Thomas Warren 1880-1966
Physical description:
1 folder+ 3 35mm. slides
Mixed archival materials
United States of America, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, Gladwyne
Rocky Crest (Gladwyne, Pennsylvania)
Rocky Crest contains over fifteen acres that overlook Mill Creek. The lower 5.9 acres are known as the Alberta and Joseph Pew Memorial Preserve, protected in perpetuity under a conservation easement held by Natural Lands Trust. The upper 9.5 acres, also under an easement, contain the residence, carriage house, swimming pool, tennis courts, greenhouses, and gardens. The gardens were begun in 1905 by James S. Austin (1857-1919). Deeds at this time named the property "Rocky Crest." Austin used the name and applied it to a new, three-story, Colonial Revival stone estate that was built on the site by 1908. Existing features by Thomas Sears include a stone semicircular pool that leads to a raised rectangular garden; a stone terrace that serves as an overlook to the swimming pool and vista below; niche with fountain; integrated stone walls and steps; and small pools that feed into larger ones. In 1994, Christopher Masson replaced flagstone paving with block paving in the courtyard (later replaced by a gravel finish). Masson also designed a formal garden using a pattern of scalloped squares.
A large, gravel courtyard balances the front of this home. The courtyard leads through a wrought iron gate to a terrace from which to view formal garden beds enclosed by old stone walls. The double border sets off a pool house, which is graced by a trellised entry arch. To the left of the walled garden, the pool is fed by a Moorish-style waterway. The large brick and flagstone terrace behind the house boasts a box-edged parterre and oversees rolling lawn in the English landscape garden style.
Persons associated with the garden include: James S. Austin (former owner, 1905); Joseph N. and Alberta Pew, Jr. (former owners, 1919-1988); Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Burch (former owners, 1989-1994); Thomas W. Sears (landscape architect, 1934); and Christopher Masson (landscape architect, 1994).
The folder includes a work sheet, site plans, and narrative history.
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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