Site for Cassandra Small’s Country House nestled between Prominent York Estates
One of my readers provided photographs of several 1916 drawings for a residence in York, PA. These drawings for Miss Cassandra Small’s residence, property and gardens are located at the Olmsted National Historic Site. Olmsted was doing the landscape design for the property.
The Olmsted site plan indicates Miss Small’s property is situated to the west side of Grantley Road. Beyond the residence, further to the west, is a lake and property of George Small surrounds Cassandra’s property. My previous post determined George is Cassandra’s brother.
I used a combination of deed searches, aerial photos and an enhanced Olmsted site plan to place the Cassandra Small property site along Grantley Road. It is shown on this 1937 Aerial Photo; a view as one travels south, up Grantley hill, from York.
Cassandra’s house faces the pond in the front yard of her brother George Small’s estate, known as Lower Grantley. The 1916 house plans are by York architect Robert A. Stair; who apprenticed under noted York architect John Augustus Dempwolf. Robert A. Stair is best known as the architect of S. Fahs Smith estate, known as Eltham. As noted, Eltham is just a short distance to the east.
Other posts in this series include:
- Miss Cassandra Small’s Country House
- Cassandra Small married Walter Franklin, who became President of the Pennsylvania Railroad
- Letters in the Attic, by Cassandra Small; the Discovery
- Letters in the Attic, by Cassandra Small; Letter of June 30th, 1863
Continue reading for more on Cassandra Small’s proposed residence along Grantley Road.
This is the Olmsted site plan of residence for Miss Cassandra Small of York, PA. It notes a distance of 125-feet from the southern corner, in Grantley Road, to the centerline of a private road on the east side of Grantley. I examined land deeds to determine Grantley Road was not shifted greatly at this location when road curvatures were smoothed in 1933. At some locations, the new versus old roadbed shifted as much as 120-feet east-west.
The back edge of the property, near the lake, follows a small brook or run; a common practice for other properties along this section of Grantley Road. Examination of late fall or winter aerial photos showing position of this small brook nailed the position of the Cassandra’s property, beyond a doubt.
I believe that Cassandra Small was working with the architect and landscape designer for this property, while it was still her brother’s land. Likely after everything was built or at the start of building, George Small would have transferred the property to his sister Cassandra Small via a deed.
Here is what Cassandra Small’s property would have encompassed, as shown on a 2013 Bing.com Birds Eye View; looking southward. The private road to the east of Grantley Road was the entrance for Eltham; it is now the private end of the continuum of Highland Terrace. The coordinates for the crossing of the centerlines of the continuum of Highland Terrace and Grantley Road are: 39.94048 N. Latitude, -76.72984 W. Longitude.
I’ll post on Monday about the likely reason why Cassandra Small did not go forward in building on this property. A deed for Cassandra’s property was never recorded and likely never made. Years later when George Small started to sell off building lots he did not sell off lots at Cassandra’s site. George Small died on March 22, 1944.
It would be George’s widow Frances Small that eventually sells two lots containing parts of Cassandra’s site. Frances sold a piece of property along Grantley Road containing the north end of Cassandra’s site to R. S. Noonan on October 31, 1946; reference Deed Book 32M, Page 119. R. S. Noonan likely built the rather modern building that is on that property; definitely not the house designed for Cassandra Small by York architect Robert A. Stair.
Years later Frances Small also sold the southern part of Cassandra’s site to R. S. Noonan, as part of a much bigger lot, extending further south along the western side of Grantley Road. This large lot was sold April 29, 1959 per Deed Book 47W, Page 164.Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts