Finding History Hidden In Plain Sight

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Chapter 6. We find the home of Robert Evans!

One day we were out walking along Penn Oak Drive, and as we approached the new house under construction I looked at the house next to it. I said to Andrea, "Hey! Lookit the top window in that house!" "What about it?" she asked. "Look at the window on the right! The small window at the top! It's Robert Evans' house! We've found it!"

 
The house has so many additions on it we walked past it a hundred times and never noticed the little window at the top.
 
From the back, up the slope near the rude bridge, just as the magazine article stated.
You can see how different this looks from the pictures in the magazine, but now that we know it's the right house it jumps out at you.
 
Looking down the driveway from Penn Oak Drive. The house has been practically swallowed up with additions.

A few weeks after we found the house, my sister, Cindi-with-an-eye, called me and said she was nearby. The doctor she works for was throwing a party at his house. Guess where the doctor lives. In Robert Evans' house! We spend two years wondering where the house is and my sister comes up one time and she's IN the house. I love that about my sister.


Chapter 7. We find the home of Thomas Evans!

 
This is from The North Penn Community, page 87. It's one of those historic postcard books.
 

With no effort on our part, we get a picture of the Thomas Evans house just by looking at some postcards in a book. Time for a walk up Sumneytown Pike.

 

Here is the house, near the intersection of Sumneytown Pike and Upper Valley road. This side faces Sumneytown Pike. Compare to the postcard. The stucco has been removed, and so has the porch. The brick chimney and the dormer are also gone, leaving a gap in the window spacing. You can still see where the porch roof was attached to the building.

 
Another view of the front. The back of the building is still stuccoed and is white, as in the Sliker postcard.

In his will, Thomas Evans granted his house to his son, Owen. Owen's son Samuel inherited it from Owen in 1757. Samuel lived in it for years and was a school teacher in North Wales. My guess is that the original part of the house is from the left side to the door. It was much smaller 200 years ago before George Heist added the tavern.


So going back to page 1, what is "Evans Run?" It's a creek! Who would have thunk it? The text under the postcard above wrongly states that it's the Wissahickon Creek. It actually merges with the Wissahickon about 1/2 mile away.
 
Andrea at Evans Run where it goes under Sumneytown Pike. The Thomas Evans house is in the background. Today the creek is named "Haines-Dittingers Creek." It is 3.3 miles long but only runs under one major road, Sumneytown Pike.

The bridge Andrea is standing on was built in 1848 by Robert Scarlett during the construction of the turnpike.


 

The homes of the other two Evans brothers, Owen and Cadwallader, have been located on the 1877 map.
The properties are listed as "E. Evans" and "Bellows," just as Howard Jenkin's wrote in Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd. (Note: the Owen Evans labeled in the map above was the son of Thomas, not the brother.)

Here is the link to the Gwynedd Meeting history pages written by James A. Quinn.


 
 * UPDATE: DECEMBER 2015
 
The path over the rude bridge to Robert Evans house has been paved. The impenetrable foliage has been replaced with grass, and there IS a house at the top of the hill. Thankfully, we couldn't see this house during our search, or we would have thought it was the Evans house. Robert Evans' house is BEHIND us in this photo. The paved path over the bridge in this view veers off to the left, but it still doesn't go anywhere. It just ends.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.

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