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
McKean Divorce Scandal ~ The End of Pine Run Farms
Henry Pratt McKean, for all his land and wealth apparently found little happiness at Pine Run Farms. His wife, Marian enjoyed it even less. In 1910 scandal struck the McKean household, which for many years had been the topic of Philadelphia gossipmongers. Marian Shaw McKean -- a woman celebrated in newspaper accounts for her "beauty" and "diplomacy" -- simply packed up one day and left her husband. That summer she went to Boston ostensibly for the purposes of settling her two sons at Harvard University, visiting her family, and vacationing at the McKean summer residence at Price’s Crossing, Massachusetts. Instead, Marian McKean and her sons took up residence on Beacon Street in Boston, determined to remain.
In 1913 Henry Pratt McKean charged his wife with desertion. A divorce decree was granted in June 1914. Four months later, Marian Shaw McKean married Percy Haughton, brother of the Harvard football coach. She lived thereafter in Boston, using her father’s $2 million inheritance (at least $40 million in 2003 after-tax dollars) to become, among other things, a noted patron of the arts.
Not one to wither on the vine, Henry Pratt McKean soon married Margaret Moore Riker, a wealthy New York City socialite whose parents had left her a considerable estate. Life with Margaret was evidently more pleasant than with Marian, but McKean had only a relatively short time to enjoy it. He died in April 1922 of a cerebral hemorrhage suffered aboard the steamship Intra France while returning from a three months’ trip to Turkey and Egypt. McKean’s Philadelphia Evening Bulletin obituary described him as a “financier” and a "gentleman" -- meaning he had no real occupation. He was a director of the Reading Company, a member of every prestigious Philadelphia club, and on the board of the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York. Following McKean's funeral at Pine Ridge, his estate, which newspapers roughly valued at $1,000,000 (not including Pine Run Farms) was divided between his wife and two sons.
McKean's sons, Henry Pratt McKean, Jr. and Quincy Shaw McKean remained in Boston with their mother and settled there permanently. For various reasons, then, by the mid-1920s the McKean family name, a Philadelphia fixture since before the Revolution, was gone, transplanted to Boston. The splendid McKean townhouses in Rittenhouse Square, prime examples of turn-of-the-century townhouse architecture, passed from private ownership when the McKeans departed and became the home of the Philopatrian Society in 1926. Margaret Riker McKean sold off the bulk of her husband's real estate holdings, including Pine Run Farms, which was soon converted into Pine Run Golf and Country Club.
Henry Pratt McKean's death effectively closed a chapter in Philadelphia’s history, but it opened the way for new uses of Pine Run, for a new place in golf history and for what would ultimately become Talamore at Oak Terrace.
Dr James Hilty
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).