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Horsham Preservation & Historical Association

...the Future of Horsham's Past

PS Pent Roof

Pent Roof

The Penrose Strawbridge House has a Pent Roof - a roof sloping in only one direction - above the 1st floor on both the east and west facades. The roof on the eastern facade was replaced in 2008 but the western roof continues to deteriorate in 2013. The photo below shows the south and eastern facades in 1984 and 1998 before we began the restoration.

side by side comparison of Penrose Strawbridge House in 1984 and 1998.

The pent roofs along the east and west elevations were probably not constructed in 1830 (when the second floor above the dining room was added), since the construction method in that scenario would typically include extending the second floor joists through the wall to form part of the pent structure and there is no exterior evidence that this was the case. In fact, the two pent roofs are not even the same size or set at the same height. They could possibly have been added as early as 1856 when the rear addition was constructed but its more likely they were added in c1875 when other work was being done to the house. The pent roof on the eastern facade was extended in 1922 when the Strawbridges removed part of the wrap-around front porch (41 p2.11-2.13)

The original slate roof was replaced with asphalt shingles, and the dormer removed in 1994 when Mrs Strawbridge was still alive. The pent roof on the east facade was removed by Horsham Township in 1997.

The pent roof on the western facade was left in place but the 2003 report by Westfield states this roof was visibly sagging and completely deteriorated at the south end where it had been cut to allow the bathroom addition in the 1920s. The roof had also been cut at the other end to make room for the sun-room.

photo of Pent Roof  and Sunroom

HPHA added a new pent roof on the eastern facade as part of the work done under a Keystone Grant which we were awarded in 2005. The eastern facade with the new pent roof is shown here. This was completed in 2006.

photo of the new Pent Roof on the Penrose Strawbridge House June 2008

The pent roof on the western side of the house, as mentioned above, was shortened when the bathroom was added on the inside of the ell between the 1810 and 1722 parts of the building, so we know that it precedes this 1920's addition. The existing roof was sagging and damaged when first examined in 2003 but it has been a lower priority.

photo of Pent Roof Support

In August 2013, we noticed that the western pent roof seemed to be sagging more and pulling away from the wall to a greater degree, so we added supports to prevent further deterioration. Our plan is to eventually replace this roof but how we replace it depends on what we do with the sun room, which is also in bad shape. Plans for this room have not been finalized yet.

Funding, of course, is also and always an issue... so ... more to come....

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Penrose Strawbridge House 1984-1998
side by side comparison of Penrose Strawbridge House in 1984 and 1998. Slate roof was replaced with asphalt shingles and dormer was removed in 1994. Pent roof was removed in 1997, replaced in 2008
side by side comparison of Penrose Strawbridge House in 1984 and 1998.
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Pent Roof and Sunroom
Pent roof and sunroom on the west side of the Penrose Strawbridge House. Pent roof recently began to fall away from the house
photo of Pent Roof  and Sunroom
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PS House East Side View Pent Roof
The new Pent Roof on the Pennrose Strawbridge House June 2008. The original was probably added c1875 and torn off by Horsham Township in 1997
photo of the new Pent Roof on the Penrose Strawbridge House June 2008
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Pent Roof Support
old pent roof on the west side of the Penrose Strawbridge House. Pent Roof is being supported due to it pulling away from the house.
photo of Pent Roof Support
Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
The Future of Horsham's Past
900 Governors Rd | Horsham, PA USA 19044
Email | 215-343-0659
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