Historical Photo Location Revealed

The Red Lion Inn, later Autocar offices, was located on Lancaster Ave. near Greenfield Ave.

Last Monday, we asked readers to taken somewhere in Ardmore. The building, which went through several incarnations in its heyday, is the old Red Lion Inn building near Greenfield Ave. in Ardmore.

The picture chosen for the photo challenge was tricky, since it represents a later incarnation of the building, past the Red Lion-era days—a few years before it was torn down.

Here's a short history of the building, pulled from documents on the Lower Merion Historical Society website.

It's believed that the original 1808 building (which began as "The Green Tree," and whose sign later depicted a red lion) was the inspiration for the name of the tavern. The original building was torn down and the three-story hotel, Red Lion Inn, was built in 1855.

The Red Lion was not only a tavern with rooms for rent, but also included a general store and a bar, the Lower Merion Historical Society explains:

This "stand" was more than a tavern with rooms to rent upstairs and 30 acres out in back for herds of cattle en route to Philadelphia stock pens. Its east wing housed a general store where village necessities were stocked and drovers swapped yarns around the stove; in a corner there was a bar, open til 10 o’clock, closed on Sundays. Three times a week a wagon pulled by two horses made a trip to the wharves on the Delaware River to replenish merchandise. Later, back in Athensville, willing hands unloaded goods in exchange for "many a sarsaparilla, etc., particularly the etc." wrote Josiah S. Pearce who himself may have rolled a barrel of mackerel or two for Mr. Litzenberg [the proprietor].

From 1885 to 1875, Litzenberg "was the most important man in the village: businessman, farmer, banker, and mainstay of the Lower Merion Baptist Church ... a man small in stature but filled with energy, integrity, willing and able to toss a man twice his weight into the turnpike if it seemed to him 'a good, honest, Christian necessity.'"

Eventually, his son-in-law became landlord of the property, when Litzenberg died in 1880. Around that time, the Pennsylvania Railroad was advertising the weekly summer rates at the Red Lion as $8 and $10, the Historical Society writes.

Red Lion was a victim of "Prohibition and progress," and by the 1920s, it was sold to the Autocar Company to use as office space.

The photo of the building chosen for this challenge has a "Cleveland Wrecking Co." sign mounted on it, according to the historical society. The building was demolished in 1941.

Take a look at the photo gallery above to see images of the Red Lion Inn building at various points throughout its history.

Kudos to Patch user , the only person who ventured a guess this week. Kurt correctly identified the building as the Red Lion Inn.

If you haven't yet, put in your guess for (a decidedly easier challenge). We'll be posting the answer to this week's challenge on Saturday, and a new historical photo challenge will be posted on Monday.


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