Arden (Images of America)
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The Village of Arden was founded in 1900 by sculptor Frank Stephens and architect Will Price, both social reformers who sought to create an ideal society based on principles set forth by the American economist Henry George. With funding from Joseph Fels, a wealthy Philadelphia soap manufacturer who also financed C. R. Ashbee's Guild of Handicraft in England, Stephens and Price purchased 162 acres in northern Delaware and named their colony after the Arden forest of William Shakespeare's As You Like It. The community's motto was "You Are Welcome Hither," but Arden's founders did not anticipate the diverse and colorful mix of radicals and progressives their experiment would attract, including Upton Sinclair, muckraking author of The Jungle, and Scott Nearing, author of Living the Good Life. Through photographs, Images of America: Arden explores the early history of one of this country's most vibrant, yet little known, utopian experiments.
market gardens. Produce was sold both in the community and at Wilmington’s Farmers Market on King Street. Born in Germany, Robert Rautenberg studied wood and stone carving in Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and Rome. Rautenberg came to this country in 1887, working with Augustus St. Gaudens and other well known sculptors. It was through St. Gaudens that he reputedly met Frank Stephens, moving to Arden in 1911. Rautenberg’s best known work is the statuary and figural work for the main staircase of the
in Little Arden, the family later moved to Friendly Gables, which had been vacated by the Steinleins. In this photograph they are seen with their daughter Sarah. Their son Alex is unfortunately not present. Located directly behind Friendly Gables, the Roberts Studio was built in 1927 by Bob Austin and Jack Gordon. The tile work visible here on the exterior was made by Henry Chapman Mercer at the Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The Roberts left Arden in 1933 for the artist
Carved across the front in medieval lettering was the greeting “You Are Welcome Hither,” taken from the last act of William Shakespeare’s King Lear. The reverse, meant to be read as one leaves the village, reads “If we do meet again, why we shall smile,” and is taken from Act V of Julius Caesar. Regardless of one’s beliefs, in Arden you were welcome. As one walked Arden’s stile path in 1907, the first building one encountered was the Red House, located at the corner of Cherry Lane and Miller’s
have been made of concrete. By the spring of 1909, plans for the new clubhouse had dramatically altered. Earlier that year, Joseph Fels had released his mortgage on the land southwest of Grubb’s Road, now making the Sherwood side of the community available for settlement. With this in mind, Stephens and Price donated the Derrickson barn to the club in exchange for stock, effectively making the new clubhouse the center of the village. Renovations began almost immediately, and the new clubhouse
right, Buzz Ware, Elena Darling, and an unknown musician pose for a photograph before the pageant commences. As a symbolic gesture of its move to a new home, the pageanteers assembled at the Red House, circled the Village Green, and made their way to the Gild Hall, where the lord and lady held court. In this photograph, two horsemen pass the Arden Inn. The rider on the left is William Lightbown. In 1909, in addition to releasing the mortgage on the Sherwood side of Arden, Joseph Fels also