by Kevin Dicciani
The 104-year-old home at 415 W. Moreland Ave. has been demolished.
The demolition comes after months of debate between the Chestnut Hill Historical Society and Blake Development Corp., the company who purchased the property in April of this year.
The CHHS wanted developer Sam Blake, the current owner, to reconsider razing the home and subdividing the property to build two new homes. They argued that the home, a Colonial Revival built in 1910 by Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen, should be restored as it was deemed a significant structure by the National Historic District. The society’s executive director Jeniffer Hawk previously called the house “a part of the fabric of the collection of houses in Chestnut Hill.”
Blake previously said his original intention was to restore the house. But after inspecting the home and surveying the damage inside and out, Blake said the home was “unsalvageable.”
The Chestnut Hill Community Association joined the CHHS in opposing the demolition of the home. Over 900 people signed an online petition supporting the CHHS in their efforts to save the home, hoping that Blake would find an alternative path other than demolition. Blake had mentioned before that he had listened to many suggestions from people and various groups and nothing could deter him from his plan. He said, as someone who has restored a multitude of old homes, the home was “beyond repair.” Referring to the two new homes, Blake insisted that many people would be “pleased with the finished product.”
Not everyone opposed the demolition, though. A few neighbors living near the house found it to be an eyesore and welcomed Blake’s development. Some feared the house, in its state of disrepair, would lower their property value. Others said they would rather see it restored than demolished, but something needed to be done soon.
No matter what side they supported, all wanted a resolution. Now, after a long, contentious dialogue on the matter, they finally have it.
The CHHS and Blake Development Corp. could not be reached for comment.