The Elms was the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Berwind made his fortune in the coal industry. In 1898, the Berwinds hired Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer to design a house modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d'Asnieres outside Paris.
Construction of The Elms was completed in 1901 at a cost reported at approximately $1.4 million. The elaborate Classical Revival gardens on the grounds were developed between 1907 and 1914. They include terraces displaying marble and bronze sculpture, a park of fine specimen trees and a lavish lower garden featuring marble pavilions, fountains, a sunken garden and carriage house and garage. These gardens were recently restored.
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