We’ve been spared a brutal winter weather-wise thus far along the Delaware River, although the season is far from over. The past two winters have been lollapaloozas, complete with polar vortices that hung around for the duration.
Winters at Sarobia in its heyday sported some decent snowfalls, as seen in the slide photo up top, sent in by Jack M. I would assume the shot dated back to sometime in ’40s, showing the front porch of the mansion.
The above picture was taken presumably at the same time as the previous photo. This one shows the greenhouses and carriage house, in which lived a woman and her daughter welcomed to stay there by Robert. The lady lost her husband in WWII. She supported herself and her child with a small business making jewelry.
Farley’s tower house is seen on the right of the slide sent in by Jack. The following is how it looks today:
I was standing approximately where the photographer of the slide’s picture was standing in relation to the present-day images shown here, and how it was oriented back then.
By bearing to the right on the road that went alongside of the garden, one would end up where the barn had set, a location that is seen in this present-day photo and marked by a little red x:
Unfortunately, up to now, I have no pictures of the barn except for a photo from the Bensalem Historical Society’s publication, as seen superimposed over a recent shot of where the barn sat before it was set ablaze and burnt to the ground:
That’s a photo of Richard Blossom Farley, watering the horse in that old photo. The pump house is on the right in the present-day picture. Under the overhang is where Jack and his brother worked on cars.
Farley’s tower house is seen in the black-and-white photo, at the spot where it would stand today if around.
The north side of the garden wall is on the left. The carriage house would have been at the end of the concrete wall, sticking out in between those trees at the far end in the background.
Blossom Farley, as he liked to be addressed, inhabited the tower house in the cold weather, a dwelling with three rooms piled one on top of the other. He designed and built it himself. Quite a feat indeed.
Farley was quite the Renaissance man, having trained formally with James Abbott McNeill Whistler, a portrait painter whose most familiar work is entitled Whistler’s Mother.
The pair traveled together from Philadelphia to Paris, where Blossom studied under Whistler in a city considered to be the art capital of the world, in which the Sarobian artist fit the bohemian mold of his European contemporaries who belonged to the Paris School of Art.
Sara Logan invited the painter to live on the property. She felt the clean country air would help recuperate the artisan and poet, who had contracted tuberculosis. Sara was affiliated with a highfalutin art association in Philadelphia, where Farley was granted many commissions for his work.
Taking on the role of an architect seriously to the nth degree, sort of like a Bucks County Michelangelo, Blossom Farley constructed an underground house for in the heat of the summer, to be closer to the dunes and the Delaware River.
More about Blossom’s incredible underground structure and other tales about the artist, along with additional photos of the estate sent by Jack will follow in another entry.
Cheers and catch you on the flip side, as one would say on a CB radio. Thanks for reading and your continued support, 10-4.