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[Portrait of William L. Price]  (Francis Day, 1902)   Athenaeum of Philadelphia.  Local ID #: L86.3
[Portrait of William L. Price]
(Francis Day, 1902)
Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
Local ID #: L86.3
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Born: 1861, Died: 10/14/1916

William L. Price was one of an influential group of architects working during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Philadelphia. Aside from his importance in the area of design based on Arts and Crafts Movement ideals, Price was one of the founders of an arts and crafts community, Rose Valley, outside of Philadelphia. He attended the Westtown School, but left in 1877 to practice carpentry, abandoning that for architecture when he entered the office of Quaker architect Addison Hutton in 1878. According to the obituary published by the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide, Price also spent some time with Furness & Evans; however, that information has not been documented by other sources. By 1881 Price and his brother Frank L. Price had established a partnership which would last until 1895, with a practice chiefly based on residential design, including houses for Wendell & Smith, the developers of Wayne and St.Davids, PA, as well as the Pelham and Overbrook neighborhoods of Philadelphia. In 1895 Price began to practice independently, but in 1903 he established a partnership with M. Hawley McLanahan which would endure under the name of Price & McLanahan until his death, with McLanahan continuing to use the name for several years thereafter and eventually producing a successor firm, McLanahan & Bencker. Although well-known for residential design, Price's work also included the Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ, and Jacob Reed's Sons store in Philadelphia.

As interested in social reform movements as he was in architecture, Price helped Frank Stephens to found Arden, DE, a single-tax community outside of Wilmington. In 1901 he helped establish Rose Valley, an arts and crafts community in which many architects were involved, but none so vitally as Price. Although the earlier parts of the community were based on existing buildings, Price later designed a number of residences, among those several for the Rose Valley Improvement Company. Price was joined in the Rose Valley endeavor by his brother Walter Price and Walter Price's partner, William McKee Walton, as well as by younger architects like Carl deMoll and John M. Dickey.

Written by Sandra L. Tatman.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
  • Philadelphia Sketch Club
  • T-Square Club


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