Mark your calendars for the 2012, Ambler Arts Festival! Saturday, June 16, 11am – 7pm you are invited to spend the day in downtown Ambler taking in local, hand crafted art, great music, food and shopping. This fabulous event is not to be missed!
As we get closer to the festival the site will be updated with more information, including featured artists, musicians, and more! If you are an artist interested in exhibiting you’ll find everything you need here. We look forward to seeing you in June!
Last Sunday, St Mary’s Villa for Children and Families opened their doors to the public for the first time in over decade. There was an overwhelming response from the community, as the former Mattison estate is an incredible piece of property that many have been curious about for quite some time. I, myself, have longed to see the inside of the famed “castle” and have attempted walking the grounds before but only to be asked to leave. I suppose I missed the Private Property signs…
The self guided tour was interesting and informative (I’ve included an excerpt of the tour notes below), although as impressive as the property is, it is sad to see the state of the grounds. The beauty and splendor they once exuded I can easily imagine, but due to the cost of maintenance the grounds are now in very poor condition. Opening the property for this tour is one step towards raising money for much needed maintenance and restoration. Don’t worry if you missed the opportunity, they will be holding tours periodically going forward. Below are some photos I took as well as some information from the tour, I hope you enjoy!
St Mary’s Villa for Children and Families, formerly known as “Lindenwold”, the estate of Dr. Richard Vanseelous Mattison (1851 – 1936). Dr. Mattison was co-owner of Keasbey and Mattison Company of Ambler, the largest asbestos manufacturing company in the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Dr Mattison received his degrees from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (1872) and the University of PA Medical School (1879). He formed the company with fellow classmate, Henry G. Keasbey, initially to produce pharmaceutical products. Since boyhood, Mattison had been interested in asbestos and began experimenting with it in combination with magnesium based carbonate. He formed it into insulating material for pipes and his empire was created.
Ambler flourished due to Dr. Mattison’s influence. Many homes were built for company workers and he was the force behind the development of the electric and water companies. Dr. Mattison was a forward thinking man like many of the wealthy tycoons of his day. In 1888 he purchased Lindenwold which contained an elaborate Victorian mansion. In 1912 he encased it in stone to resemble Windsor Castle in England. Dr. Mattison enjoyed traveling in Germany and Scotland and many of the European features of Lindenwold still exist today.
Dr. Mattison was married twice and had three children by his first wife, Esther, whom he married in 1874. Their first child , Esther Victoria, born about 1878 died at the age of four from typhoid fever. Their second child, Richard Jr. was born about the time she died and their third, Royal, in 1895. Both Richard and Royal worked with their father in the family business. In their early adult years, Richard lived on Cedar Lane and Royal in 8 Lindenwold Terrace. Richard never had children, but Royal had one, Royal Jr.
Dr. Mattison’s business thrived until the depression years. He was forces to move from the Castle around 1934 to 1 Lindenwold Terrace. Lindenwold eventually sold to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth (the present owners) in January, 1936. Dr. Mattison died in November of that year at the age of 85.
There is a lot more information, history and detail that you will get by taking the tour, I suggest that you do so the next time it’s offered!
Today was one of those jump up and click your heels kind of day; not only was I able to sit down and enjoy great conversation with fellow Amblerites, but I also had the privilege of getting a sneak peek into Forest & Main Brewing Company! I, along with many of you I’m sure, have been dying to see what they’ve been up to in there. Of course, I follow their blog and facebook page but seeing their labor of love in the flesh today was truly impressive. Daniel and Gerard have really done an incredible job of transforming the space and it couldn’t be more perfect. I took a few photos to share with you (click the thumbnails below), but only of the bar area, you’ll have to experience the rest for yourself. Which leads to the question that everyone has been asking for quite some time now, “When will they open?!” If all goes well they hope to be open by the end of the month, be sure to check their facebook page for updates.
See you at Forest & Main 🙂
In case you’ve missed the buzz, there is a group of people working to bring a food co-op to Ambler. If you’re an Amblerite, I don’t need to tell you the impact that this would have on our community; if you’re not, let’s just say, it would be HUGE! Since the closing of the Acme 3 years ago, Ambler has been without a grocery store. There’s no disputing the fact that Acme was not the cream of the crop, but it was there, and there were so many in town who depended on it. Although it was an emergency kind of place for me, I was saddened to hear of it’s closing. Had it been replaced by another grocery store I would have been dancing in the street, but for a reason I still don’t understand, yet another pharmacy was needed.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, it seems as though we are getting a Bottom Dollar grocery store in town, which has been met with mixed reviews. Regardless of whether it comes or not, an Ambler Food Co-op would be invaluable. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a co-op, it’s a typically a non-profit, member owned and operated business. The members (those who shop there) pay a very small membership fee and commit to work for the co-op in some capacity, usually about 2 hours per month. This enables the overhead to remain as low as possible and provide high quality product at a lower price, being involved in the community is an added benefit.
The coalition behind the Ambler Co-op is having it’s first meeting, Wednesday, January 25, 7pm at the SAAC center, located at 45 Forest Avenue in Ambler. I strongly encourage you to attend; the more people at the meeting, the greater the chance that this will become a reality! Please pass this information along to those who may be interested, “like” the Ambler Food Co-op facebook page to receive updates and post/distribute the flyer (to the right) if you’re able. I hope there is a great turnout at the meeting, this is an incredible opportunity for our town!
If you’d like more information, email [email protected].
Our first Restaurant Week this past July was such a huge success that we’ve decided to do a winter edition! Mark your calendar for the third week in January; Monday, 1/16 through Sunday, 1 /22 (keep in mind some restaurants are not open 7 days a week, check website for details). Keep up with www.AmblerRestaurantWeek.com for updates as we get closer, including menus and possibly more restaurants!If you are on facebook, RSVP to the event here!
Thanks to Martin Slamon for creating our flyer, he rocks!!!
State Farm has clearly put quite a bit of time and effort into their window display, a wish list and all! Scroll through and take a look!
I have enjoyed countless cups of cappuccino and tea at Caffe Maida over the years, although it was just recently that I realized it is Caffe Maida, not Cafe Maida. It struck me while resizing the photos below, odd that I never noticed (clearly it’s plain as day) but nonetheless, a new discovery for me. Regardless, they have a charming holiday window display, makes the shop feel so cozy and warm.
95 E Butler Avenue
The title of this post was going to be “On the first day of Ambler’s Holiday Window Display Contest the Merchants Created To Be…” (hopefully you’ve read this in tempo to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas), but I thought that could quickly get out of hand as I would need to continue the theme in every post for the next few weeks. Clearly, I reconsidered, although I still like the idea…
True to form, I was out photographing the window displays on November 30. I will share all of the participants here and I expect to hear which one you like best, so don’t be shy!
Our first (and totally awesome) contestant is Deck’s Hardware:
Their theme is “Remembering Christmas in the 1950’s” According to facebook friend who seems to be in the know, Bud Henkels, all items in the window are form the 50’s, including post-war Lionel operating train layout. There are also a few pictures of Deck’s at Christmas from the 50’s, some of the items in the window today are also in the old photos!