Compton, a house built by John Morris and his sister, Lydia T. Morris, in 1887 on present-day Morris Arboretum land in Chestnut Hill, will be the subject of a program presented by the Springfield Township Historical Society on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Bethlehem Pike and E. Mill Rd., Flourtown.
Speaker Joyce H. Munro, an essayist and former Dean of the Graduate School of Chestnut Hill College, will use photos, maps, blueprints and anecdotes to tell the story of the house from private estate days to university era. She will explain why John and Lydia named it Compton, how they celebrated the 25th anniversary of the house and what each of them wanted done with the house when they died (spoiler alert: they did not want the same thing).
Compton was designed as a summer house by architect Theophilus T. Chandler, Jr., who was an aficionado of European-inspired gables and bays, dissimilar window styles and irregular roof lines. The story of this house is not only its architecture and its owners; it’s about what went on inside, who worked there and what ultimately happened to it.
Munro is author of “Untold Stories of Compton” for the Morris Arboretum blog and “From the Archives” for the arboretum’s Volunteer Newsletter. Her long-form essays about the Morris family can be found in “Philadelphia Stories, “Hidden City Philadelphia,” “Broad Street Review,” “Poor Yorick,” “The Copperfield Review” and “WHYY Speak Easy.”
This historical society program is open to the public and is free of charge. Light refreshments will be served. Reservations are not required. For more information, visit SpringfieldHistory.org or call 215-233-4600.