old houses under $50K

Old Houses Under $50K History Tuesday – Farwood and the Mysterious Disappearance of Its Owner

History Tuesday at Old Houses Under $50K is for informational purposes only and focuses on beautiful homes that were built for less than $50,000 back in the day. They are usually not for sale, and if they were, they would certainly cost way more than $50,000. This is the story of Farwood.

 

Architect Wilson Eyre, Jr.

Built in 1895 for Richard L. Ashhurst in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, Farwood was considered one of architect Wilson Eyre, Jr.’s finest country home designs. Eyre was known for his welcoming country houses and for for being an innovator of the Shingle Style.

 

Farwood

For Farwood, Eyre created a barn-like form that struck a bold pose along the 100′ facade of the house, while the first floor blueprint was simpler. Three rooms formed one space, which today might be called open concept. Wide windows, massive fireplace, octagonal bay, and a complicated stairway graced the home.

 

 

 

Owner, Richard L. Ashhurst

In addition to his country home, Ashhurst maintained a home on South 11th Street in Philadelphia. He was born in 1838, admitted to the bar in 1859, and was appointed postmaster for Philadelphia. Ashhurst was a prominent member of the community and well-liked socially. 

Ashhurst (and Farwood) Disappear

In 1911, Ashhurst mysteriously vanished when he apparently either fell, jumped or was pushed off the Atlantic City Pier into the ocean. His heavy cane with his name inscribed in silver was found hanging on the pier, and a massive search was undertaken to no avail. Some believed that scratches on the wood railing indicated a struggle. Others surmised that he jumped in, while still others believed that he simply fell in.  The end of Mr. Ashhurst brought about the end of Farwood, and it was demolished some years later.

 

 

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