It should come as no surprise to anyone that the archivist / librarian here at the Historical Society of Montgomery County is a compulsive reader. Imagine my surprise when picking up Pulitzer Prize nominated novel The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, that the titular Dutch house is in Elkins Park! My first thought was “Is the Dutch house a real place in Elkins Park?”
The short answer is “no.” The longer answer is “not really.” Patchett has noted in articles and interviews that the house is not a specific house, but rather that imagined house that comes to mind when driving by historic homes and museums. She chose Elkins Park because of a friend she often visited in Wyncote and the location would make other elements of the story easier to adapt. While writing the story, her friend told her about places such as Melrose Park, Abington Memorial Hospital, Horsham, and Bishop McDevitt High School which the narrator of the novel attended (Patchett, 2020).
For our Montgomery County residents, if you wish to wander the not so fictional setting of The Dutch House, then I am pleased to inform you that copies are available through our public library system: MCLINC. Happy reading!
Patchett, Ann. “Notes from Ann: Your Questions about the Dutch House, Answered.” Musing, 6 Mar. 2020, https://parnassusmusing.net/2020/02/12/notes-from-ann-your-questions-about-the-dutch-house-answered/.