Talamore clubhouse
Clubhouse at Talamore at Oak Terrace, designed after 1902 as state of the art stables by Horace Trumbauer to house Henry Pratt McKean's throrougbreds
Talamore clubhouse

Talamore ~ Horace Trumbauer

based on "Talamore at Oak Terrace" by Dr. James Hilty. Edited for the web site. The complete paper with references is available in our archives.


Talamore at Oak Terrace | Early History | Pine Run farm | McKean Manor House | Horace Trumbauer | McKean Divorce Scandal | Pine Run Country Club | Banker's Country Club | Oak Terrace Country Club ~ Wingels | The Old Oak | Slamming Sam Snead | Archdiocese of Phila | Bud Hansen | Realen | Making of a Golf Course | Rebuild 1993-1995


Horace Trumbauer and Talamore at Oak Terrace

One striking feature of the Downs estate (“Fordhooke Farms”) was its oak-lined driveway, designed by Horace Trumbauer and still used today as the entranceway to Horsham Clinic from Butler Pike. Similarly, the Welsh Road entry into Henry Pratt McKean's estate also featured an oak-lined macadamized driveway, probably a Trumbauer touch added during his 1908 renovations. Both driveways were obvious concessions to the arrival of the automobile age and to Welsh Road’s function as a principal artery through Montgomery County.

The impressive oak alley extending into the McKean estate from Welsh Road to the manor house later became the signature, or most identifiable feature of succeeding golf clubs and an obvious reason for naming one of them Oak Terrace. In 1993 the main entrance road into Oak Terrace was moved approximately one-hundred-fifty yards eastward to align with the Advanta driveway, permitting installation of traffic signals facilitating entrance to and egress from Talamore as well as the construction of a new, wider main entrance road, Talamore Drive. The move of the main entrance provided space for the construction of Talamore's seventh hole, plus the adjoining upper and lower ponds. Only three of the large oaks that once straddled the driveway into Pine Run and Oak Terrace remain in 2005. Those remaining oaks border rear yards of homes to the left of Talamore Drive just beyond the main entrance and they can be seen from the seventh fairway, extending along the bank of the upper pond.

photo of driveway with oak trees lining either side
Oak Lined driveway entrance to Horsham Clinic (Fordhooke Famrs) designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1906

Besides the oak alley entrance and the renovations to the manor house, Horace Trumbauer left other marks on Pine Ridge and consequently on Talamore at Oak Terrace. Thus, it is worth taking a closer look at this highly gifted, extraordinarily successful architect.

Born in Philadelphia into modest circumstances, Horace Trumbauer (1868-1938) rose to establish his own architectural firm and to gain the confidence and patronage of America's wealthy elite. For example, in 1894 he designed "Gray Towers" for William Welsh Harrison in Glenside (later Beaver College, now Arcadia University), followed by "Chelton House" in Elkins Park for George W. Elkins (1896), "Lynnewood Hall" also in Elkins Park for P. A. B. Widener (1898), then grand summer estates for wealthy clients in Newport, Rhode Island, and residences for the likes of James B. Duke, Percy Belmont, the Drexels, Vanderbilts, Whitneys, and many others. Trumbauer’s “Whitemarsh Hall” (1921), a 147-room mansion on 300 acres of formal gardens, designed for Edward T. Stotesbury was called the “Versailles of America.”

In addition, Trumbauer designed hotels (Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia), hospitals (Jefferson Medical College and Hahnemann Medical College), public buildings (Philadelphia Public Ledger Building), university campuses (Duke University), university buildings (Harvard's Widener Library), plus Philadelphia's Free Library, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among many others. No stranger to the area around Talamore, Trumbauer designed the Pavilion at Willow Grove Park (1896) and the clubhouse at Huntingdon Valley Country Club (1911, 1927).

photo of Horace Trumbauer
Gilded Age Horace Trumbauer designed renovations at the Henry Pratt McKean Manor House and designed the stables now used as the Talamore Clubhouse

Ahead of his time, Trumbauer recognized and promoted the talents of others, including Julian Abele, who in 1902 became the first African-American student to graduate in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Trumbauer financed Abele's further study at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris, hired him in 1906, and promoted him to chief designer in 1909. Trumbauer and Abele became close friends and colleagues. Trumbauer entrusted Abele with his most important projects, most memorably and ironically, to include the design of the Duke University campus (1930-1935), which Abele could not visit because it was racially segregated.

Given Trumbauer's great renown and his many famous buildings, his most durable imprint on Talamore at Oak Terrace came about in a surprising manner. In 1902 Henry Pratt McKean's large stables, containing many of his valuable horses, burned to the ground. Desiring to build a state-of-the art facility to house his precious horses and concurrently conceding the growing impact of the automobile, McKean hired Trumbauer to design and oversee construction of a fabulous multi-purpose carriage house to serve as both stable and automobile garage. This was not to be just any carriage house or stable and garage. Indeed, it became one of the most luxuriant and expensive known to exist. Vouching for the elegance of Trumbauer’s design and the soundness of its construction, the carriage house, having since gone through scores of interior renovations, survives today as the clubhouse for Talamore at Oak Terrace.

photo of Julian Abele
Julian Abele, who in 1902 became the first African-American student to graduate in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

McKean Stables/Garage

Given Trumbauer's great renown and his many famous buildings, his most durable imprint on Talamore at Oak Terrace came about in a surprising manner. In 1902 Henry Pratt McKean's large stables, containing many of his valuable horses, burned to the ground. Desiring to build a state-of-the art facility to house his precious horses and concurrently conceding the growing impact of the automobile, McKean hired Trumbauer to design and oversee construction of a fabulous multi-purpose carriage house to serve as both stable and automobile garage. This was not to be just any carriage house or stable and garage. Indeed, it became one of the most luxuriant and expensive known to exist. Vouching for the elegance of Trumbauer’s design and the soundness of its construction, the carriage house, having since gone through scores of interior renovations, survives today as the clubhouse for Talamore at Oak Terrace.

In July 1904 Trumbauer placed an announcement in the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders’ Guide requesting construction bids for a “handsome stable to be built at Penllyn, Pa., for H. P. McKean, Esq." Bidders were informed that the stable "will be two stories high, 62 x 19 x 102 feet, and will be built of stone and will have the usual up-to-date sanitary stable appointments." Philadelphia's "most prominent builders” were invited to submit bids to construct the building for $25,000. In July a contract was awarded to J. Sims Wilson, an Ambler contractor with offices on Butler Pike.

google map view of current clubhouse at Tala more
Google Map view of Talamore Clubhouse - you can see the original U Shaped design of the luxuriant and expensive automobile garage and throroughbred stables by Horace Trumbauer for Henry Pratt McKean

Once underway, original construction plans were modified substantially. The dimensions were expanded until, by the time it was completed, Trumbauer and Wilson presented McKean with a truly extraordinary structure, a one-of-a-kind multi-purpose building. No records are available to indicate by what margin the final costs exceeded original estimates. When completed the red brick and limestone trimmed, two-story, U-shaped building (mirroring the design and the materials of the manor house) contained a central block measuring 153 x 119 feet, with two wings on each side of a 51 x 62 feet stableyard, enclosed on three sides, framed by gate posts.

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One wing of McKean's carriage house, according to a contemporary account, contained an "automobile house to include a cement pit and all the appliances for maintaining automobiles," which in 1904 put McKean substantially ahead of the times. In 1900 there were fewer than 14,000 automobiles registered in the entire United States. By 1911, when the first commercial automobile garage opened in Ambler, only 44 automobiles were registered to owners within a one-mile radius of Ambler, and Edward Berry’s horseshoe and blacksmith shop in Ambler was still a thriving business. The opposite wing contained seven well ventilated and well-lighted horse stalls for McKean's "thoroughbred show horses," plus a harness and cleaning room (19 x 8). The interior was finished with "beaded boards and wainscoting” and, as the Ambler Gazette noted, "Not a detail has been omitted."

In 1908 Trumbauer returned to Pine Run Farms to design and supervise construction of major renovations to the manor house totaling $16,298.39, as recorded in his work ledgers. Those same ledgers provide no indication that Trumbauer was the architect of record, or the original designer of the manor house. Still, he left a substantial imprint on Talamore at Oak Terrace, from the oak alley entrance, to the interior redesigns of the manor house, to his original design of the carriage house (now the Talamore clubhouse). Given Trumbauer’s prominence in the architectural community and among architectural historians, Talamore's members and residents may point with pride to the association.


Next ~ McKean Divorce Scandal=>


Dr. James Hilty

photo of Dr Jame Hilty
Dr Jame Hilty - retired Professor of History and Dean of Ambler College, Temple University





Dr. James W. Hilty, retired Professor of History and Dean of Temple's Ambler campus, has written extensively about American politics, including Robert Kennedy: Brother Protector (Temple). He has provided political commentaries for various publications, including the Philadelphia Inquirer and served as historical consultant to various news media, including C-SPAN, NBC News, NPR, and others. A Temple faculty member since 1970, Hilty also wrote the introduction to Marvin Wachman's The Education of a University President (Temple).




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