Displaying items by tag: Elkins Park

Wednesday, 21 December 2022 19:23

The Dutch House

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?”

Initial thought of what could be the Dutch House. The Elkins estate designed by Horace Trumbauer. Elkins estate in the Fall. Published by Montgomery County Planning Commission. Retrieved from:

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).

Possible inspiration for the Dutch House. King's Views of Philadelphia. Illustrated Monographs. Part 6. Published by Moses King, New York. Copyright, 1900 by Moses King. Retrieved from
Copies of the Bishop McDevitt High School yearbooks that are in our collection at the Historical Society of Montgomery County, PA. Unfortunately, the school was permanently closed in spring 2021.

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,

Published in Found in Collection