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Early Survey Map of Chelten Hills / Elkins Park - Centered on the Future Widener Mansion Estate and the Elkins Estate

Unusual local Cadastral survey map of the a large portion of today's Elkins Park, covering area west of Old York Road in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

The present map is apparently the original subdivision map for Chelten Hills.  At the bottom right is an entry, "N.B. Lots with the names on are sold."  The map was issued as part of the sale of plots in the Jenkintown area by Edward M. Davis, under the auspices of the Chelten Hills Association (which he set up in 1854). One early resident was his mother-in-law Lucretia Mott, the noted Quaker activist in the field of women's rights and the abolition of slavery.  

Toward the top center, the property belonging to F.N. Buck would in the coming decades become the location of Peter A.B. Widener's Estate and Mansion, including Lynwood Hall, considered the largest surviving Gilded Age mansion in the Philadelphia area, and former home of Joseph E. Widener's remarkable art collection.  

Neighboring the future Widener Estate is the land which would become the Elkins Estate, built at the end of the 19th Century by William Lukens Elkins, an American businessman and art collector who partnered with Peter Widener to found the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company and developed streetcar and railway systems throughout several major cities in the United States.  

Oriented with northwest at the top, the map offers a fascinating large scale image of the area west of Old York Road and North Pennsylvania Railroad, along with a marvelous depiction of Shoemaker Town on the road to Jenkintown, including Bosler's Mill on Taconey Creek, which feeds into Bosler Dam.  The town includes a Wheelwright, Blacksmith, Livery, Engle's Store and Toll Gate on the Old York Road, along with the buildings of the town's namesake, Charles Shoemaker.

Two railroad stations are shown on the Pennsylvania Railroad line, along with Green Valley Mills and the County Line Hotel on the Old York Road.

The manuscript notes at the corner of Sycamore Avenue and Beech Avenue were likely undertaken for J. F. Peniston, owner of the adjacent land across Beech Avenue, along with John W. Thomas and Morris L. Hallowell (silk importer).   Peniston, along with Jay Cooke, John W. Thomas, William C. Houston would later participate in 1861 in the funding St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the corner of Old York and Ashborne Roads in Elkins Park.

Other landowers noted on the map include:

  • Samuel Mason
  • Morris L. Hallowell
  • Thomas Mellor
  • F.N. Buck
  • Joseph W. Bates
  • W.H. Bacon
  • Joseph Price
  • J.W. Thomas
  • F.R. Fraley
  • F. Fraley formerly Daly
  • A.T. Chur
  • Joshua Hallowell
  • J.M. McKim
  • Elliston Perot
  • Benjamin Roer
  • Jonathan Mathers and Thomas Mathers
  • Isaac Mather
  • P. Mather
  • E.M. Davis
  • Charles Shoemaker
  • Charles Bosler 
  • Isaac Starr
  • Jacob McIwain
  • Joseph Rorer
  • Thomas T. Lea
  • John Weismer
  • Samuel Leech
  • I.R. Davis
  • William Birchell and Esquire Birchell
  • William C. Kent foermer B. Webster
  • John Cuttman
  • John Caufman
  • John Kulp
  • B. Webster
  • George Fraley
  • Eleazer Fenlon
  • Anthony Williams
  • Joseph F. Cottinger
  • G. Clayton
  • Michael Daley.


The plan is of the utmost rarity.

We note a copy at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and a copy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Condition Description
Folding map, segmented and laid on linen.