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Stan Gorski

Interview for East Falls Historical Society

Interviewee: Stan Gorski, Director, Gutman Library, Philadelphia University

Interviewer: Ellen Sheehan

Place: Philadelphia University Buildings

Date: 9-15-2009

Gorski: Gibb House was built for Kolb’s daughter. The architects are Charles Barton, Keen and Walls. The date the house was built was 1926. When Mrs. Gibbs, (who is actually Elizabeth Kolb) was married, the house was given to them. She is Kolb’s daughter. I’m not sure, I would have to do some research in my files to see what building was there before that. Gibb, Ralph A. Gibbs was involved in the glass industry and right around the World War II his company developed a bullet proof type of glass or a higher resistance type of glass. There was money and he was a successful manufacturer. The house was donated in 1975 to our institution. Interestingly enough, our school tried to buy it a number of times before she had passed away but there were always problems with money. She would ask the school to jump through numerous hoops to get it and once she died she gave the house to us.

Ellen: Her son lives down at the corner of Netherfield.

Gorski: The cottage on the property. I don’t know when that was built or what time. I’m not sure if any servants lived there. I’m not sure if it was the Gibbs family that bought this but during the Sesquicentennial in 1926 apparently one of the displays was a small house, a small cabin I think. It was done by the Camden newspaper and they had it on display and apparently in one way or another a family must have purchased it.  I’m not sure if it was the Gibbs family. There was a dollhouse behind.

Ellen: Yes I read about that. Is it still there?

Gorski: No.  

Ellen: When was it moved?

Gorski: I don’t know what happened to it but I do know where it was originally.  I know it was a part of the Sesquicentennial and I even have the company that made it or was used as an advertisement. Again I’d have to go into my record but I could pull that out. It was something that would have to do with newspapers. I think in Camden or New Jersey some newspapers were using it at a display.

Ellen: I think we have it in here – I will show it to you because I was reading something about that.

Gorski: I have a picture of their building while it was on the Sesqui. Now the other thing is – I think, I haven’t been able to verify this, but I think the staircase in Gibbs is Yellin ironwork.  Because in the Yellin records, they do list working for the Gibbs family on School House Lane.  And I think that is probably what they did.

Ellen: I remember that was a feature when we went into the house on a tour.

Gorski: And Yellin is considered the premier iron work.

Ellen: Now how about some information about Tuttleman.

Gorski: Now Tuttleman, you know is relatively new. It was just built in 2001. I have the architecture as the Hillier Group. It is a modern classroom building.  The interesting thing, it is basically all classrooms. The interesting thing about Tuttleman, if you’re on the outside and if you stood at the outside of Tuttleman looking at it, there are 3 levels. It is a two story building and has a peak where it goes up. If you look at the designs on the building, Mr. and Mrs. Tuttleman have designs at the top, then there are these plaques on the second floor and the bottom floor. The second floor are long plaques and the ones in the bottom are little squares. Those plaques indicate the activity and likes and dislikes of the children and the grandchildren. On the bottom level you will see plaques with a computer and some other things and that’s because one of the grandchildren really liked computer games. And then there is one with a football and some shoes and that is because the kid really liked playing football. So all those little squares are all associated with relatives of the Tuttleman family.

Ellen: So the Tuttleman’s paid for the building and, as a part of that, they wanted some family recognition?

Gorski: Yes. They are on concrete squares designed by an artist. There were molds made; they were not chiseled out. They were probably clay mold with the concrete poured into them.

Ellen: Well who was Tuttleman first of all?

Gorski: He’s still alive.       

Ellen: Was he a graduate?

Gorski: He’s not a graduate of this school, he’s not alumni. He’s basically somebody who is interested in education in the Philadelphia area because he has donated some money to some of the other institutions for buildings.

Ellen: What is his money source? Is he a manufacturer?

Gorski: Oh, I don’t know right off hand.  I could check into that. Actually that’s not a bad question. One other interesting thing, aesthetic wise, if you walk into the main door or the vestibule you will see a statue of Thomas Jefferson sitting on a bench. The artist who did that is George Lunden. That statue is a limited edition of one of 36 for that size. There is a smaller desktop edition of one of 500 but of that full size there is only one of 36. One of the things that 1 always mention is that’s our connection with Beverly Hills. In Beverly Hills they have one in their park full size. So they own one in Beverly Hills and we own one and it’s in our lobby.

Ellen: That’s good. East Falls deserves that to be on a part with Beverly Hills.

Gorski: Actually Colonial Williamsburg has a full size one too. There is our minor connection with Beverly Hills. All the artwork, all of the posters that are in Tuttleman, I don’t know if you have ever walked the halls in there.

Ellen: Just in the auditorium section because that’s where they have community council meetings.

Gorski: I believe, I might be wrong on this, I believe they are all reproductions and not the originals. Even though they are reproductions they are quite attractive than everything else, but 1 don’t think they are the originals.

Ellen: Should we go on to White Corners?

Gorski: Well White Corners was the original. That was originally built by the Carstairs family but it went to…

Ellen: Do you know when it was built; what year?

Gorski: It’s probably 1920’s; I don’t know the exact year. And I think it was build, I think the Carstairs family commissioned it but they never lived there. Or maybe they did for a little bit. You know, I keep on coming up with this date of 1915 but I am not absolutely sure on that.

Ellen: For White Corners?

Gorski: Yes. I do have an architect as Brockie and Hastings. It was eventually purchased by Leon Levy, and Leon Levy’s brother-in-law was William Paley who became CBS.

Ellen: And Goldie Paley was the mother right?

Gorski: Right. She owned the Paley Design Center and her daughter donated it to the school. White Corners we had to buy because….

Ellen: Do you know when you purchased that?

Gorski: Yes that was purchased in 1993. The story behind, that the way we actually received it is one of Leon Levy’s sons, and I didn’t get an exact name.

Ellen: Bobby?

Gorski: I’m not sure which one it is but if you want me to, I can check my files.

Ellen: No, it’s alright.

Gorski: Yeah, I know I did this whole Paley family tree because I couldn’t figure out who’s who because it was so complicated. 1927, they purchased White Corners in the mid 30’s as their family residence. Goldie dies and Blanch donates her mother’s house to the University in 1977.

Ellen: Okay, wait a minute, Blanche was the daughter, and she donated it to the University?

Gorski: Well, that’s the Design Center.

Ellen: Oh, the Design Center in her mother’s name. And what year was that?

Gorski: It was 1977. Blanche dies in the ’90.

Ellen: So he left Goldie 12 million?

Gorski: Well Samuel Paley, her husband, did when he died, in 1963.

Ellen: So Goldie died at 95?

Gorski: Yes in 1977 and that’s when Blanche, who’s still at White Corners, donates her mother’s house to the university. Then Blanch dies in the 1990s. Because their son went to Penn Charter, they donated it to Penn Charter.

Ellen: So it was owned by Penn Charter?

Gorski: Yes, Bob Levy. They owned Penn Charter but Penn Charter couldn’t figure out what to do with it because it was a little divorced from their property so they sold it to us. It was in really bad shape too. Well I mean there was a lot of renovation that went on. I know certainly there was a lot of interior renovation, I guess there wasn’t so much outside. I think we filled in the pool. I think the school filled in both the pools.  ’92 is when we purchased it from Penn Charter. Of course we have that whole thing about the Rouse that Frank Sinatra.

Ellen: Yes, I remember that. Hayward Hall, do we know anything about Hayward Hall?

Gorski: Hayward Hall is actually the first building…when the Kolb estate was bought. They bought the Kolb estate in ’46. When it was actually bought it was still…

Ellen: ’46 you said?

Gorski: Welt ’46 was actually when the Kolb estate was purchased by a nun (?). It wasn’t actually purchased by the school, though this just gets confusing. The school at the time was still affiliated with the Philadelphia Art Museum and the School of Industrial Arts, so we could not actually purchase it outright. It was a non-profit fundraising group called the “Foundation” or the Textiles School that actually bought it at that time so it was actually bought in ’46. When the school finally was able to legally remove itself from and become a separate institution, which was during ’46 and ’47, the school then officially moved to this location, but there were no classrooms or anything here. They started building Hayward and the library called Hesslin Library which doesn’t exist because that’s where Kanbar is now. So you don’t have that building. But Hayward, they basically started building both at the same time.

Hayward was supposed to be the main school building; it was where all the classrooms are. The lower level had a cafeteria, had offices for the associations all the administrative offices, faculty offices were in there. The architect was Ewing Incorporated. The cornerstone on Hayward says 1949; the construction started in ’48, maybe fall of ’47. The building was designed to look like a modern textile company building. In fact it was supposed to be like ultra-modern.  I mean if you were building the most modern textile building, this is what it was supposed to look like. So that’s the reason why it is somewhat factory looking. Now the only place where they did any sort of ornamentation to it was in the foyer which has the marble floor and the little art deco steel on the side, like designs and so forth. And to be honest, it is not a whole lot. But I guess if you were building a factory you wouldn’t have done that.

Ellen: No, but it gave it a little flair.

Gorski: Yes. Let’s see, if there is anything else really.

Ellen: Well now it’s really the design center for the fashion department, would you say or not? I mean at least the first floor when you go in. 

Gorski: Yes, they have –well, the textiles school… most of the machinery has been moved out. There is still some textile machinery in it. The health and sciences are in there but they are supposed to move out also. There are offices; the textile school offices are located in there. I shouldn’t say textiles – it’s engineering and textiles; the school of Engineering and Textiles is still located in there. It is constantly shifting around, but it’s mainly classroom. But some of the CAD labs are in there. Now the interesting thing, if somebody walks in there, again this whole thing was designed mainly for a textile school so the corridors are extra wide for moving machinery. The elevators, if you go in there, one of the main elevators -if you go and use it – it is a freight elevator basically. It is a big elevator; it’s not like a small personal. If you look at both ends, if you see on the second floor there are these large doors and they are actually at opposite ends of the corridor and they are again for moving large machinery – move it right down the corridor and move it right out of the building. There’s pendants, well that’s not the proper word. There are concrete supports on the ceiling, on the roofs on both ends for lifts, so you can pull up.

Ellen: And this is on the outside?

Gorski: Yes, you can still see them if you look for them. Where you can attach pulleys for moving heavy equipment in and out of the building. It was designed to be functional. It’s named after one of the Deans’ of the school, Burt Hayward, who was the Dean between 1947 and 1973.

Ellen: So, do you think we will be able to go into that building that day or not? It will be open, I mean that’s the day you will be having the open house. Do you think it will be open?

Gorski: Yes it should be open.

Ellen: And do you think it will be a problem as a group, or do you think they would stop us?

Gorski: There probably won’t be a desk or anything there. If you could, I don’t see why you couldn’t, but 1 certainly would get approval by PR there shouldn’t be any problem sticking your head in. Well, of course you can’t do it in the President’s house, you won’t be able to do it in the Smith house. But walking into Ravenhill should be alright, Tuttleman – walking into the lobby of Tuttleman should not be a problem. White Corners, that you might not. Hayward you should be able to enter the foyer there is no security or control or anything there and it is a wide open area, It should be able to hold 20-30 people. Gutman Library you should be able to walk into.

Ellen: Is that going to be open that day too?

Gorski: What day is that? 

Ellen: It’s a Saturday and it’s the day of the open house when they are going to have students and parents.

Gorski: What time will you be there?

Ellen: Ours is from 1-2:30.

Gorski: Yes, we are open normally from 10-5 on Saturdays. And 1 should mention, if it wasn’t for the fact I have some prior commitments, I would be able to do it myself.

Ellen: I think we should be fine, I appreciate that.

Gorski:  I like doing tours.

Ellen: Oh I know, they are really fun. How about Gutman Library itself?

Gorski: Have you ever seen the outside faces on the building?

Ellen: We have photographs of it that were taken by, a professional photographer who lived on Netherfield that were donated to us. We have the building of the library and the actual finished library.

Gorski: So you are aware that there are faces?

Ellen: Now there are faces on the concrete?

Gorski: Yes, they are on the corners and so forth.

Ellen: Who are they?

Gorski: Well, when the building was built in ’92, they had a sculpture/artist. Her name is Syma. She came and took life masks from mostly students and the Gutmans, Mr. and Mrs. Gutman and two board of trustee members I think. And I think there were one or two faculty members too. Now Mr. and Mrs. Gutman, when you leave the building I’ll point them out. They are actually on the side of the building. I do have a chart with all of the, each name, each year, each space and everything else.

Ellen: There are no names underneath?

Gorski: No, I mean unless you knew the students, of course.  It was ’92 so they are gone. But these are really based on real people; these are not fantasy images, these are all real people.

Ellen: So who were the Gutmans?       

Gorski: The Gutman’s owned a textile company in the south. Their son was killed in a plane crash and he was a relatively young man. I think he was early 40’s. There is a picture of him in the foyer as you are coming up. He didn’t go here, and actually Mr. Gutman, the father, did not go here either. However he had certainly been aware of our institution and the school. I don’t know how they first got into contact, but they had been in contact probably asking for money early on, based on the textile connection. Then after his son was killed in the private plane crash, I think they were probably looking for some way to memorialize him. The school, at the time, was involved with raising money for a number of things. There was a fundraising campaign going on – around 10 million dollars and I think this building cost around 7.

Ellen: 7 billion or did you say million?

Gorski: No, 10 million. Even in ’92 it was 10 million and 1 think this building was somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 million – somewhere between 7 and 8 million. I hate to talk in these terms but the Gutman’s got a really nice deal. They didn’t pay the whole thing. They paid somewhere between 1 to 2 million dollars. The school really needed a cornerstone donor. If you get a major donor then other people are more apt to give because they know what’s going to happen. They start to think this is real and something is really going to happen. So the Gutmans gave between a million and two million with the idea that it was going to be named after their son and that is the name J. Gutman Library.

Ellen: Jay?

Gorski: No, just the initial J. They were the main donors. When you consider going to Harvard with a million dollars, they would say here is a classroom maybe with a little plaque or something. You know, we got a nice library and they got the name.

Ellen: What is the significance of the ceiling up there, do you know? I mean it’s beautiful.

Gorski: It is; it’s stained glass.  It was commissioned. I was involved with the interior design – I mean, they asked the librarians to be involved and I was working here at the time.

Ellen: So this was 1992? How long have you been here?

Gorski: One way or another, I have been around since 82 or’81. I haven’t been full time till the late ’80’s but I have been around. I was here even before Gallagher was here or before we owned Ravenhill. I think it was ’81 when I started.

Ellen: So when did you acquire Ravenhill?

Gorski: 1982

Ellen: Oh okay, you don’t know what the ceiling is?

Gorski: Well, it was commissioned, but what they had originally planned for was – I’m not sure if you have been on the second floor here – but there is a skylight running the length of the second floor and it is very attractive. In fact, if you bring a group in here you can actually go up to the second floor if you wanted to. But what they had originally planned was, for the skylight, was to be an open atrium type to this floor. When they couldn’t do that the President said he wanted something aesthetic and they were going back and forth. 1 don’t know who the stained glass people are but I would assume it might be Willit, the people in Chestnut Hill.

Ellen: Yes, I think they did Ravenhill’s glass.

Gorski: They did the chapel. But I know President Gallagher wanted this to be a showplace, that’s why everything was done in dark wood. I mean the Board of Trustee’s room is upstairs, where the Board of Trustee’s meeting room is, and he wanted this to be a showplace, in his mind. It was one of the most expensive buildings we had built up to that time, so l can see why it wasn’t possible to do an atrium type thing. I could see him saying, “Well, give me stained glass with lights behind it or something…’

Ellen: Something attractive.

Gorski: Something attractive, and it is attractive.  I mean there is lighting behind lt. That’s why it shines through. At the time it was built, I should mention, that the Shepley Bullfinch which is the architectural firm and they specialize in doing libraries, It’s a library architectural firm.

Ellen: Oh, are they local?

Gorski: No, out of Boston. And there were some architectural awards that were given to the building at the time. Shepley and Bulfinch did Kanbar. The former President Gallagher really liked what they had done.

Ellen: So it’s called the campus center?

Gorski: Yes, It’s basically….

Ellen: They were about the same time frame? That was the next building built after this building you think?

Gorski: Kanbar was basically 2005. Tuttleman was the one in between, Tuttleman was 2001. And then of course there were some renovations and so forth, but after this building there was Tuttleman and Kanbar. And of course, at the same time, the changes to the athletic center which is now the Gallagher.

Ellen: It used to be Althouse Hall; now it’s called the Gallagher Center. That was part of the Kanbar campus renovation?

Gorski: Yes, Kanbar – he was an alumni of the school and so forth and he donated money to the campus center. At the same time they raised money to have renovation to Althouse Hall. Now it is called Gallagher Athletic Recreation and Convocation Center. And actually – oh, that’s interesting too – I forgot that Shepley and Bullfinch are also the architects on that.

Ellen: It wasn’t rebuilt, it was just designed?

Gorski: Well, the Althouse, was like a building in front and they kind of expanded on to it. But the expansion was 134 times the original size of the Althouse. Technically if you go into it, Althouse is still like the front end. Althouse was an alumni of this school and he donated money. Whether this means anything, Althouse used to be a big chemical firm in Philadelphia and they were involved in textile dye stuffs. And in fact he donated a lot of money to Lehigh University also. But now the building, the extension and so forth is known as the Gallagher Rec Center.

Ellen: And then you’ve got Kanbar.

Gorski: Kanbar is the student center, I mean it’s called campus center. But it has meeting spaces, it has the cafeteria, mailroom, there are all these student government offices on the third floor – student affairs are all up there.

Ellen: That was once in Redgate?

Gorski: Yes, everything that used to be over in Redgate is in Kanbar and more too because I mean the student store used to be in Hesslin. The student bookstore used to be in there – now that is in Kanbar also.

Ellen: Yes I remember that little store.

Gorski: Actually that little store was the library; that used to be the library way back.

Ellen: Yes my son went here, and he was the president of Sig Ep and they used to be in Redgate.  He loved that building and he really missed that when they tore it down.

Gorski: A lot of people were upset about that.

Ellen: Yes, because there is nothing there now basically.

Gorski: Well, I don’t know what’s going to happen because the funding – the money isn’t there right now. But what they are supposed to do is take down the dorms, those townhouses. The townhouses are going to be taken down and what they are going to build, what I have seen proposed, is an H shaped building. It will be in a shape of an H with two long wings and then with a cross building in between and it will be dorms and office space

Ellen: So there will be more dorms then what they have here?

Gorski: Yes.

Ellen: Yes, they are very attractive those dorms; I’m sure.

Gorski: Yes, but they don’t hold many people. When they built them, they were built in the 70’s and it was a good idea for the amount of students. I mean we still have students over at Alden Park – we don’t have the space. Even after buying Independence Plaza. When you go back to the 60’s, the school was 20-30 percent boarding; the rest was all commuter. Now it is 80 percent boarding, 20 percent commute.  Maybe 70-30 – something like that. You are pulling more out of the state, out of the area. Let’s face it, kids prefer to go away, then back and forth to school even if they live in Philadelphia. We need more dorm space and we have a lot more program so we need office faculty space.

Ellen: So very good, so are we done?

Gorski: Yes, basically Kanbar, he’s the alumni, as an entrepreneur has done well for himself. There is a vodka, Skyy Blue Vodka, I think he developed, that is one of the things he has been involved in. So he didn’t make his money in textiles.

Ellen: So he made it in alcohol?

Gorski: Well that and some.

Ellen: Could I have a copy of that paper, or no?

Gorski: Well, this is like my notes and so forth. I mean I’ll make you a copy. See what I do is when I do a walking tour, these are the things that I thought were interesting. Like the ram, the ram statue was actually a donation by the Class of 2007 and President Gallagher also threw some money into it. I don’t know what the percentage is or whatever. I just have little notes on here, and this is my official architectural records and I can print you out that. Do you know the story behind Rosneath Farms?

Ellen: No, but I remember it from growing up there.

Gorski: You know, there were two to three homes. They had, I think, between 30-40 psychiatric beds.

Ellen: Was it just a house that stood there and it was converted? Was it a rehabilitation center for recovering alcoholics or people with medical problems?

Gorski: It ended up being a turn of the century Victorian house, nothing as elaborate as the ones around it.

Ellen: We don’t have a picture of that, do we?

Gorski: Well the only pictures I have are the ones after it was burnt and they were tearing it down. Did you want to get copies made?

Ellen: Yes because somebody just asked us recently and I contacted somebody at the university to see if you had any photos. Do you know what year it burnt down?

Gorski: They bought it with the idea of using…

Ellen: The University bought it?

Gorski: We bought it in ’67 and there were 3 buildings, seven acres. The buildings were destroyed by fire in July 24, 1970 and we were going to turn it into dorm spaces.

Ellen: Did they ever determine how the fire started?

Gorski: That’s an interesting question.  No, not that I know of.  Here’s what it looked like.

Ellen: So there were three buildings.  Oh my gosh, that’s amazing; it’s beautiful. What a place, so this looks like it was put on as an addition.

Gorski: Yes it was tacked on.

Ellen: This is bigger than I remember. So is this from School House Lane?

Gorski: No actually I think this is from the back of it.

Ellen: So this would be Warden Drive?

Gorski: Maybe.

Ellen: There is that big hill down there behind it, so that might be the front of it. Because I think I remember, but I don’t remember it looking like this.

Gorski: So maybe this is the front.

Ellen: Yes, that’s got to be the front.

Gorski: Yes here is School House Lane, but it might be an angled shot. This might be off to the side. This is real tough because these shots, and then of course here is the one with the sign.

Ellen: How do you spell it? Oh, Roseneath. That’s how I always pronounced it.

Gorski: I have seen that spelling. I think they are wrong, but then again who knows. Let me see, here is the one after the fire.

Ellen: Oh my, that was pretty devastating.

Gorski: Yes, there was nothing we could do.

Ellen: ls there any way we could get a copy of this?

Gorski: I’ll see if I can get some copies made. Like here you can see the building has obviously been added on to. This whole front part is probably an open porch and just increased bed space. They probably just enclosed it at some point and they didn’t real care what it looked like.

Ellen: Oh, and that was the entrance?

Gorski: Yes, must have been.

Ellen: Oh my, how majestic. So Philadelphia University owned it when it burned down?

Gorski: Yes.

Ellen: And it was used as a rehabilitation center?

Gorski: Well, from what I am able to determine, the original man who started the whole thing, I mean, bought the property, Dr. Joseph McCarthy, was a well know neurologist at the time. Well this is turn of the century 1900’s, 1910. Neurologist involved with the diagnosis of mental diseases. He owned property where the German end of School House Lane on the right hand side the whole complex.

Ellen: Gypsy Lane?

Gorski: Gypsy Lane Apartments. He owned that as a gentleman’s farm.  He owned that whole property and he had a private practice. The private practice was in Rosneath.

Ellen: Why was it called Rosneath?

Gorski: I think that was the original name.

Ellen: Original owner?

Gorski: Original owner going back. Because of his interests and his needs he turned it into a private psychiatric hospital. Over the years, after it passed from his hands and I have dates on McCarthy and so forth but I don’t know what happened after him. Let’s see, he was a Professor at University of Penn, an expert in insanity.

Ellen: When was it that the University purchased it?

Gorski: ’67. I do know that as late as ’63, because I have seen old directories.  The building, or Roseneath Farms, was at that time listed as an alcohol rehabilitation center. I think over the years various owners you know turned it into a treatment facility. You can see they added on space and so forth and it kind of depended on who the owner was and what treatment facility. Seemed like they could make a few dollars and that’s probably what they wanted to do. And it was always full profit, as least as much as I could tell.

Ellen: Well, now there was always this rumor – Grace Kelly recommended it to Bing Crosby who was having problems and stayed there because he didn’t want anyone to know at that time.  He covered that up and this was an out of the way place that she knew about.

Gorski: Oh yes because she was right there, and to be honest with you, I find it fascinating in all this discussion about the Ravenhill Academy and it’s right next door. I mean literally like walking, it’s just a couple hundred feet. And the psychiatric facility, no one ever talks about it but you know that’s an interesting story, I hadn’t heard of that before but it could have been a possibility to it. I mean it could be. The thing that I find fascinating is the school is really, you know after this burn. There is an envelope that the board of trustees minutes for around that time and people talk “Let’s get rid of the property, let’s sell it, what can we do?” We want it because of the buildings, and they held on to it.  Well now I mean if they had gotten rid of it – I mean if they had sold it, it would have broken up the whole campus, broken up the whole line. Who cares about the buildings, I mean those buildings might have been torn down – it is the land that is important.

Ellen: Alright, well I think that’s it. Thank you very much.

Gorski: What’s also interesting if you look at Ravenhill now, you see a lot of open land around it and everything else and that was seven acres that was part of the farm so their property was a little bit more enclosed then it actually looks now. I mean the seven acres would have been, if you walk past Smith House you can see Ravenhill and the other buildings but you would still have to go further if you got to it at that time because that’s where Roseneath Farms was.

Ellen: Did you know that the building at Ravenhill, that it was a summer house that would have been more towards School House Lane, maybe in front of Assumpta Hall there. And it had a wraparound porch and it was a summer house and it was a home for unwed mothers.

Gorski: When Weightman lived there, there was another mansion on the opposite side where Powers lived.  It used to be called Weightman and Powers. In fact as there is a photograph which I don’t have here, Physical Plant has the photograph and I’ve tried negotiating with them. It was taken in the 50’s with an aerial view. The mansion still exists, but the Powers mansion at some point in time went to the Episcopal charities. They could have used it as…maybe if the Sisters had something that would be interesting, that I had never heard of.

Ellen: Well one of the Sisters told me about it, and this was back in the ’70’s

Gorski: That has not shown up in any of my research. That the religious order that ran Ravenhill had one.

Ellen: It may not have run it but I remember her talking about the wraparound porch and it was a summer home.

Gorski: See since you started talking about it I assumed that was the Power’s mansion.

Ellen: Maybe, maybe that’s what it was.

Gorski: Because that was right literally almost next door; it was on the other side.

Ellen: I don’t know whether that was torn down or she told me it burned down.

Gorski: See I thought that mansion – I know the Powers mansion eventually became part of the Episcopal services. But I don’t know what it was used for, how long or anything.

Ellen: I can’t see the Sisters at the school having a home for unwed mothers when they are running a school for girls so it probably was Episcopal Services.

Gorski: But eventually from what I understand, but I don’t have any dates, that building was acquired by nuns from Ravenhill and then where that extension was built.

Ellen: Yes Assumpta Hall we called it.

Gorski: Which now is Fortess, the corner of Fortess. That was built, well I don’t know if it was built on the property but it would have been. I mean I don’t know if the building was in place, if the new building would actually be built on the footprint of the building but it certainly extends into that land where the mansion was.

Ellen: Okay, alright. That sounds like it would be accurate from my memory of what she told me about it.                                 END