The Penrose Room is the sitting room to the right when you enter the Penrose Strawbridge House
The Penrose Room is the sitting room to the right when you enter the Penrose Strawbridge House, restoration of the Penrose Living Room at the Penrose Strawbridge House is nearly complete..
This room is in the 1810 addition to the house that was built by William and Hannah Penrose. The Penrose family owned Graeme Park from 1801-1920 when Morris Penrose sold the property to Welsh Strawbridge.(
This room features both a doorway (on the right above) into the original 1721 room and a smaller door (to the left) opening to the basement stairs. What is really significant about this room, however, is the exposed wall that had previously been the outside wall of the original 1721 cabin.
The original cabin was made of stone but we can see here that it originally or some time later had a door or window built into this wall. This wall was plastered over when we began our restoration but our architectural historian, Herb Levy, thought there should have been a window or door on this wall. Margaret Choate, shown in the photo above, then removed the plaster and found the opening. The shelves that we see here were probably put there by the Penroses. The lath for the plaster was modern, indicating that the wall was likely plastered over by the Strawbridges, probably before they moved in in 1922.
Restoration of this room as of January 2015 is nearly complete. The project started many years ago with structural work. Moisture related deterioration of lintels and beams in the basement (Feasibility Study p1.2)caused the 1st level floors to sag so steel beams were added under each room. Since then we have replastered and repainted the ceiling, removed all the old paint and repainted the walls and moldings, and repainted the floors.All that's left to do is a final coat of pain, and to finish the French windows on the 1st floor.
The parlor has 2 outside walls. the eastern facade has one 6 light-french window opening to an old stone patio and a small fireplace. Two similar windows are on the southern facade, or front of the house, opening to the front porch. These windows are the same as those on the front wall of the Strawbridge Library that appear in the earliest photo of the house that we have showing Abel and Sarah Penrose rocking on the front porch c1875-93. One story is that these windows were added prior to a wedding being held at the house but this has not been documented. The fireplace has a old stove which we have used, not sure when this was added.
The foundation and basement under this room are believed to predate the 1810 addition (Feasibility Study p 1.1 ) perhaps dating back to 1721 when the original cabin was built. In addition to the door/window on what was the outside wall of the cabin (discussed above) there is also a large vault or arch in the basement under the corner of this room, very similar to that under the hearth in the 1721 room. Speculation is that these vaults were built to support a load much larger than would be typical in a residence, leading us to believe that there may have been a storage shed or some other structure where this room is now. The basement under this room also has 2 possible indents in the floor indicating that there may have been holes or wells in these locations. See the Basement page for more.
Many of the Penrose related items in our collection and on display in the Penrose Living Room were donated by Joseph H (Buck) Penrose Jr. Mr. Penrose's great-grandfather Abel Penrose grew up in the Penrose Strawbridge House and purchased Graeme Park from his siblings following their mother's death in 1865 . Mr Penrose, until recently, owned the Paul House on Easton Road in Warrington, PA.
We have also added a new carpet (shown above) and have installed curtains (below) over the exposed outside wall of the 1721 room.