Main content

Edmund Gilchrist architectural plans


Held at: Chestnut Hill Historical Society [Contact Us]8708 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 19118

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

"Edmund Gilchrist was born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, the son of William W. and Susan (Beaman) Gilchrist, and was educated at Germantown Friends School. His architectural training began in courses taken at the Drexel Institute and at the University of Pennsylvania. Before beginning his own practice, he worked in two of the most successful architectural offices in Philadelphia. Horace Trumbauer's commissions included some of the grandest mansions in the Philadelphia region and beyond, often executed in French neo-classical detail; Gilchrist's work would include similar houses. While in the office of Wilson Eyre, however, Gilchrist encountered an approach to domestic forms that combined historical motifs with innovative planning, two of the most important features of Gilchrist's designs. He first worked with his most important early client, developer Dr. George Woodward, while in Eyre's office.

"Woodward gave Gilchrist his first independent commissions near the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. Together with Philadelphia architects H. Louis Duhring (1874-1953) and Robert Rodes McGoodwin (1886-1967), Gilchrist created a garden city-like community within the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia that combined complex, modern planning with historical details and gracefully mixed clustered and free-standing houses, gardens, and roadways. Woodward dubbed his development "St. Martin's," and retained most of the houses he built there for rental. Gilchrist continued to design new houses for Woodward into the 1920s, and made minor renovations to his earlier designs into the 1930s.

"Gilchrist's practice expanded significantly in the later 1910s, and he joined the national AIA in 1916. His work in this period followed the lead of his Woodward commissions in two significant respects. First, his clients largely came from an elite Philadelphia social stratum of old families, and second, many of these houses were built in the contiguous Germantown, Chestnut Hill, and Mount Airy neighborhoods of the city. Work in resort communities in Maine where these Philadelphians summered also began in this period.

"Gilchrist's planning expertise and innovations were recognized in the profession and beyond. During the latter part of World War I he produced designs to the U.S. Shipping Board's Emergency Fleet Corporation housing. He was one of a number of prominent architects to design house groups for the planned community of Mariemont, Ohio in the 1920s. In the early 1930s, he served on the Philadelphia AIA's special committee on the economics of site planning and housing, producing model designs, and on the Committee for Design for President Hoover's Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership. He also produced designs in the 1930s for the reconstruction of the central portion of the town of Ellsworth, Maine, after a destructive fire.

"Although the bulk of Gilchrist's work was domestic, he also designed commercial buildings in central Philadelphia, and the Gibbsian Unitarian Church of Germantown, a regional landmark. He retired from practice in 1943."


Whitaker, William, Emily Cooperman, Laura Stroffolino and Nancy Thorne. Finding aid for the "Edmund Beaman Gilchrist Collection, 1908-1945, Coll. 007." The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania. 2002. Accessed February 1, 2012.

This collection contains original plans of 1915 and the subsequent alterations and additions to the residence at 1012 Westview St.; building and site plans for 6706 Springbank Rd./ 1012 Westview St. (SE corner, Westview and Springbank); and a folder of miscellaneous material.

The folder contains:

2001.1.1-.7 Original plans for house at 1012 Westview St., also called 6706 Springbank Lane in Mt. Airy, (also a copy of the 2001.1.1 drawing on white paper),1915-16

2001.1.8 Bay Head, New Jersey house for M.H Harrison, 1915

2001.1.9-.25 1012 Westview St. addition plans by DeArmond, Ashmead and Bickley, 1936 with Lord and Burnham Co. greenhouse plan, 1937

2001.1.26-.29 Plans for Property for Morgan, Lewis and Bockius, 1944 (.28 has a sub-sketch added in 1975 )

2001.1.30-.35 Addition to tool house and greenhouse at 1012 Westview St., R.E. Bishop, by unknown architect, 1949, foundation plan for a building adjacent to the building shown in earlier plan, no date

2001.1.36,.37 Lord and Burnham Co. plans for greenhouse (a greenhouse company), 1947

2001.1.38,.39 alterations to porch for Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Bishop, by Martin, Stewart and Noble, 1956

2001.1.40 Plan of Property for Alan Laties at Springbank and Westview Streets, 1992

2001.1.41,.42 blue prints of unknown houses by unknown architect(s) found in this accession group of plans

2001.1.43 Contour plan for unknown site with "Transportation Bldg. 15 and Penn Sq." on the reverse, drawn on ledger paper, no date

2001.1.44-.72 Photocopies of the plans listed above

2001.1.73: All correspondence and specifications.

Gift of Robert and Ann Gates Yarnall, 2001.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR), using data provided by the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. The HCI-PSAR project was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was done in the HCI-PSAR project.

Chestnut Hill Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the Chestnut Hill Historical Society.
This preliminary finding aid was created by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) using data provided by the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Access Restrictions

Contact Chestnut Hill Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest