House Barnes Built is For Sale

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Art aficionados have a chance to own a piece of local history as a 100-year-old home built by the Barnes Foundation’s founder is up for sale.  Constructed by art collector and businessman Albert Barnes, the nearly 10,000-square-foot Main Line mansion has an asking price of $2.6 million.

“That was the first spec house that he built,” said Barbara Beaucar, an archivist with the Barnes Foundation.

Junior Lodge, located on 1.8 acres at 379 N. Latches Lane in Merion Station, is just down the street from Lauraston -- the home Barnes built for himself and his wife, Laura Leggett.

“His intention was to create a very park-like neighborhood,” Beaucar said. “He received very little profit. He really wanted to develop the area and turn it into a beautiful neighborhood.”

The owner of the Tudor revival “spec house” has tried to maintain the 7-bedroom home so one can feel Barnes’ touch throughout, said Beth Samberg, a realtor with Keller Williams Main Line Realty.

“He is hoping to sell it to somebody who will maintain the property and appreciate the beauty of it as much as he did,” she said.

Designed by architects Druckenmiller, Stackhouse and Williams, the home still has many of its original features, including eight fireplaces, stained glass windows, and the Belgian-tiled roof, Samberg said.

The red oak floors and walls is the original wood Barnes had installed while the house was under construction in the early 20th century.

The current owner, who is downsizing after 30 years at Junior Lodge, made a few updates, including renovations to the kitchen, master bathroom and the ground-floor powder room, and adding central air.

“It was installed in a way that you do not see any vents except for one in the dining room,” Samberg said. “He didn’t want to compromise the beauty of the home.”

Other features that harken back to 1914, the year the home was built, include servants’ bells, which can be rung by stepping on a button inserted in the floor, and a small phone closet beneath the staircase.

“We think it has one of the first phones ever installed in the home,” Samberg said.

A carriage house zoned as a rental property would also be part of the purchase.

Despite the historical significance of 379 N. Latches Lane and its place on the list of historic resources by Lower Merion Township’s Historical Commission, there are no regulations preventing a buyer from completely overhauling the property.

“You could raze it completely,” said Samberg.  “But it might kill the seller.”

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