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Lost Wayne Building: The Bellevue Hotel

What was life like for those who summered in Wayne?

 

"One of the most beautiful and impressive buildings that has ever been erected in Wayne is but a legend now – the Bellevue Hotel built in the summer of 1881 by George W. Childs and A. J. Drexel.

For not quite nineteen years it stood on the high slope of ground overlooking Lancaster Pike at the intersection of what is now Bellevue avenue, its wide porches looking out on the surrounding countryside. And then on a bitter cold night in January, 1900, the hostelry, famous for two decades as the summer home of wealthy Philadelphians, burnt to the ground. It has never been rebuilt. But a few years later William W. Hearne erected his home on very nearly the same site. This is the building now occupied by the Helen Kellogg Dining Room at 125 West Lancaster avenue.

In the 1880’s and 1890’s there were several famous summer hotels along our Main Line. Among them, in addition to the Bellevue, were the Bryn Mawr Hotel, now the Baldwin School; White Hall, on old Railway avenue in Bryn Mawr; Louella Mansion on Lancaster avenue in Wayne, and the Devon Inn in Devon.

The Louella, built in 1867 by Henry J. Askin as a home for his young family, had become a summer hotel by the middle seventies, thus antedating the Bellevue by several years. But of all the hostelries none has been more famous for the aristocracy of its guests, the beauty of its surroundings and the comfort and luxury of its appointments, than the Bellevue in the brief years of its existence."

Read more about what it was like to summer in Wayne in this 1951 column.

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