History Bytes: Bushy Park

October 30, 2015

The “Bushy Park” estate, long gone, was located on Memorial Boulevard/Bath Road, between Cliff Avenue and Annandale Road. It dated to 1852 when it was “Beach Cliff” the summer home of DeLancy Kane. It later belonged to Philadelphia publisher Charles Peterson and then Richard V. Mattison of Ambler, PA.

Mattison (1851-1936) was a chemist and pharmacist who made a fortune in patent medicines. He was the co-founder of Keasbey and Mattison, a manufacturing company that produced asbestos building materials. Mattison was responsible for turning Ambler, PA into the asbestos capital of the world.

Around 1895, Mattison hired Newport architect and builder J. D. Johnston to construct a new carriage house and stable on the west end of the Bushy Park property fronting Annandale Road. In 1939 the estate was developed into small house lots. The carriage house and original brown-stone gate house (located at the corner of Rhode Island Avenue South) are all that remain of “Bushy Park”.

Mattison’s Ambler, PA home was a massive stone house called “Lindenwold Castle” which was converted into a Catholic orphanage and later served as the set of the 1966 Hayley Mills film The Trouble With Angels.

Above: An August 1913 postcard advertisement for Asbestos “Century” Shingles. This image from the NHS collection shows Bushy Park Carriage House.