Historic Fox Fields Estate – Aerial View in 1924
520 Ramblewood (carriage house address)
Fox Hill – Home of Rudolph Ellis
Theophilus P. Chandler – Architect – Built in 1881
The history of the current Fox Fields is described as follows in Rural Pennsylvania in the Vicinity of Philadelphia, published in 1897:
Fox Hill (Bryn Mawr Avenue).—This name of the country-seat of Rudulph Ellis originated in the abundance of foxes in the neighborhood in old time. It was the appellation of the country people. The Radnor Hunt Grounds are near at hand. The beautiful stone mansion was built in A. D. 1881, Theophilus P. Chandler being the architect. The piazzas and porte-cochere, and terrace, with the ornamental stone wall with a serrated top at the base, and the red-tiled roof form a fine picture, which can only be fully appreciated by riding up the winding macadamized drive, which has a pretty cottage at the entrance. The vines which cover the stone work of the mansion, specially one of the high chimneys, are a striking feature. The out-buildings are in good taste. The “Cabin,” as it is styled, was added as a billiard and recreation-room, and has a cheerful appearance with its rustic interior finished in cherry wood. The woodwork, which is shown in the wainscot and rafters and stairway of the hall, and other rooms, has a pleasing effect. The curve of the drive to this elevated site constantly displays new and delightful views, and the summit commands one of the widest and finest landscapes in the region, showing varied hill and dale and wood. The land on which the mansion is situated was formerly the property of Enoch Davis. The trees which cover the lawn stand in natural beauty, and with no so-called attempted improvement by art. The hedges on both sides of the road are a verdant introduction, while a ha-ha wall, topped with honeysuckles, runs down to lthan Avenue. This country-seat is a section of Rowland Ellis’s part of the Welsh tract. A long hill on the Davis farm stands out in bold outline in the setting sun, while the tinkling sheep-bell is a pleasant token of rural life. The bells were brought by Mr. Ellis from Switzerland, and form a chime. The present property runs on both sides of Bryn Mawr Avenue, and to the Coopertown Road and the Radnor and Chester Road on the south- west. The bell on the Davis farm is sounding the supper-call. This sweet-toned bell is from a Spanish monastery, and was presented to Mr. Ellis. In addition to the Davis farm, the James Moore farm, and a part of the Pugh farm are in the present estate, as well as a portion of the Hart estate, making in all over three hundred and fifty acres.
The Moore farm is a stock farm, which is used in raising thoroughbred horses. The Davis farm contains Jersev cattle and sheep. A grove of tulip poplars on the home lawn is the mark of the early settlement, but the trees in general were the individual work of Mr. Ellis. The breeding stable on the Moore farm displays some very fine stock, and the young horses look comfortable in their square stalls. All on this place are thoroughbreds, though there are a few hackneys on the other farms. There are seventy to eighty horses on the combined farms. In walking along Rryn Mawr Avenue toward evening, “the drowsy tinklings” of the sheep bells give a pleasing music not often heard in this region, but familiar to the English poet Gray, when he wrote his “Elegy.” Wordsworth might have selected this spot for his pastoral ballad of “The Pet Lamb,” which Barbara Lewthwaite tried to comfort in its lonely orphanage.
In riding homeward over the meadow where James Moore so often wended his way to business or to church, a thought of the good man and his worthy spouse mingles with that of those who now improve the acres on which he toiled for many a year.
Hotchkin, S. F. (Samuel Fitch), Rural Pennsylvania in the Vicinity of Philadelphia, (G.W. Jacobs & Co., 1897).