The Dorothy Shipley White house at 717 Glengarry Rd. (Photo courtesy of Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania)

The home at 717 Glengarry Road is a midcentury modern masterpiece built in 1963 for Dorothy Shipley White by the internationally significant Philadelphia architects Mitchell/Giurgola Associates. It is one of Mitchell/Giurgola’s few single-family residences – an innovative design that exemplifies the cultural and social heritage of Chestnut Hill as an incubator of progressive modernism in postwar Philadelphia, and an important early commission in the career of a firm that significantly influenced the architectural development of the city and the nation.

The home is one of the three most important modern homes in the area, along with the Margaret Esherick House of Louis Kahn and Robert Venturi’s Vanna Venturi House. All were designed within two years of each other for single women, by three of the most influential Philadelphia architects of the era.

Vacant and deteriorating over the past few years, the family and estate of the late owners, Peter and Tama Myers Clark, are now tidying up the site’s landscaping and cleaning out the house with the intention of putting it on the market later this year.  Because it was listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places by a Chestnut Hill Conservancy-led coalition, any work on the building that requires a building permit must be approved by the Philadelphia Historical Commission.  This will protect the home’s exterior character-defining features, and ensure that any exterior alteration would be in keeping with the historic.

“The Conservancy has invested significant time and resources to protect the home and encourage its revitalization, and we are grateful to the Myers family and the estate’s attorneys for their dedication to returning the home to its historic former glory,” said Chestnut Hill Conservancy executive director Lori Salganicoff  “Thank you to the Conservancy members and supporters, who made this possible.  Please contact me at lori@CHConservancy.org if you wish to learn more about a home that is an iconic work of mid-century architecture.”

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