Albert Barnes’s ‘Unusually Intact’ Former Home Gets New Owner

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albert barnes house
Image via Jose Moreno, Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Lower Merion property that long served as first the private home and later the museum of Albert C. Barnes’s collection of artworks has recently become the new headquarters of the Lower Merion Conservancy. The Conservancy hopes to protect the historical property, writes Paul Jablow for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Barnes was a prominent businessman, art collector, and philanthropist in the Lower Merion area between the 19th and 20th centuries. He contracted a French architect to build the home in 1922 and lived in the residence until his death in 1951.

According to conservatory director of historic preservation Kathleen Abplanalp, it’s rare to find a property that’s been so well preserved where no one has lived in it for a half-century.

“So little has been modified,” said Abplanalp.

The Barnes property has also recently been listed as a “Class I Resource” by the township, which is quite the mark of distinction in historic preservation circles.

Many of the original light fixtures still remained with the house, and much of the home furnishings were typical of items found in furniture catalogs of the 1920s and 30s, all still perfectly preserved.

“It’s just so unusual, so intact,” Abplanalp said.

The Conservancy started to move onto the Barnes property in June, but won’t be fully ready for some time. According to Abplanalp, the house is “still a bit of a shell.”

Read more about the property in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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