What today is known as Laverock Hill started its life in the late 19th century. Formerly known as the "Sims Estate", the original property was constructed in the early 1890s for John Clark Sims. Mr. Sims was the Secretary, then Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad until his death in 1901.
The property was purchased by Isaac T. Starr in the early 20th century, and it was Mr. Starr that is responsible for commissioning the architect, Charles A. Platt from 1915 to 1918 to create the wonderful Georgian mansion that still stands on the property. He was also responsible for enhancing the property with the greenhouse, service buildings, barn & the wonderful red-brick walls that line the west side of Willow Grove Avenue.
Tucked down a private lane (on some maps is also known as Sandy Hill Road) are 6 additional buildings. The first is a large stone Colonial residence, then there are 2-3 smaller dwellings, the original dairy barn (which has been converted to a residence) and an older stable/barn.
In 1994, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Historic Preservation did a complete inventory of all of the lands surrounding Route 309, and had the following to say about Laverock Hill;
"The Sims Estate was assessed according to criteria outlined in the National Register Bulletin 15 (National Park Service 1991). The property appears to meet the criteria of eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and C. Under Criteria A, the property is significant as a largely intact estate dating to the early twentieth century, when wealthy Philadelphians built elaborate summer homes and year-round estates in the country. The Sims Estate is the best example of an early twentieth century estate in the area of S.R. 309 Road Improvement Project and one of the best in the area."
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