Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Mansion, The

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Institution Name: Cabrini College
Original/Historic Place Name: Manor House
Location on Campus: center of campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1900-1903original construction Trumbauer, Horace
Designer: Horace Trumbauer (Philadelphia)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Other (Glossary)
Significance: culture, education, landscape, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: stone
Walls: quarried stone, limestone, stucco, timber, brick
Roof: shingle
 
Function:
ca. 1900private residence (of James W. Paul, John T. Dorrance)
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration
 

Narrative:
The Mansion represents the home of two of the great fortunes of Philadelphia-- James W. Paul (Drexel), and John T. Dorrance (Campbell's Soup)--one of them being a principal developer of the entire area, giving The Mansion regional importance. The building represents a major work of art by one of the principal architects of the early 20th century. In the age of opulence, Trumbauer was the most capable architect at displaying the ability of wealthy Americans to consume conspicuously, and Paul's fortune was sufficient to support one of the great country houses of the Philadelphia suburbs. By combining several architectural styles from different time periods, Trumbauer's intention was to create an architecture simulating that of an estate developed by a family through generations.

The mansion served as the center of the estate, and its architecture is reflected in the estate's outer buildings. In its later incarnation the house served as the primary building for the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, both as a religious and an educational facility. Its massive grandeur is a proud statement of the culture of the early 1900s, even as it now serves as the hub of Cabrini's senior administration. It is still viewed as "The Main House," the place where the important decisions are made and future direction is determined. It also continues to very capably serve its original role as a place to entertain. An event in "The Mansion" symbolizes a significant yet gracious event in a way no other building on campus can.
 

References:

Kathrens, Michael C. American Splendor: The Residential Architecture of Horace Trumbauer. New York: Acanthus Press, 2002.

Morrison, William. The Main Line Country Houses, 1870-1930. New York: Acanthus Press, 2002.

Selected papers and photographs about The Mansion. Archives, Cabrini College, Radnor, PA.

 

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Last update: November 2006