Collingswood, New Jersey

Porch Brunch and House Tour

2015 Proud Neighbors Porch Brunch & House Tour
“Engaging the Past, Embracing the Future”

Satisfy your taste for history and architecture with the Proud Neighbors Porch Brunch & House Tour, Sunday, May 17, 2015. This popular annual salute to Collingswood home styles coincides with National Historic Preservation Month and is traditionally held on the Sunday after Mother’s Day. You can buy advance tickets for the brunch and tour package, or buy tour-only tickets in advance or on the day of the event, which is held rain or shine.

Start your day with a homemade brunch, served on a Greek Revival-style porch. Two brunch locations are available: The Collingswood Manor, at 460 Haddon Avenue (wheelchair-accessible), and a private home at 549 Grant Avenue.  Enjoy a savory "Eastern" omelette strata with Italian sausage, peppers, onions & cheese with a refreshing salad and fruit garnish. The brunch is complimented with homemade muffins, desserts, coffee/tea and iced tea.  Then tour seven fine examples of Collingswood architecture, ranging from Victorian-style 1905 classics to a 1975 classic-to-be. This year, the homes are on the west side of town between Browning Road and the White Horse Pike. Three homes are on Virginia Avenue, with others on Grant, Magill, and West Browning.

Brunch is offered at two reserved seatings, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.. Combination brunch and tour ticket prices are $28 per person. (Brunch tickets sell out quickly; call 609-238-5407 for reservations.) The house tour runs from noon to 5:30 p.m.. Discounted advance tour-only tickets are available for $15 at the following locations: Bauhaus Hair Design Studio (788 Haddon Avenue), Grooveground (647 Haddon Avenue), and Borough Hall (678 Haddon Avenue). Day-of-tour tickets are $18.

This year’s theme, “Engaging the Past, Embracing the Future” recognizes that historic preservation enhances a community now, and in the future, through a shared appreciation of its architectural identity. Short descriptions of some of the homes are available now, with full writeups be provided in a tour book to be distributed at the event.

This fundraising event ensures that our town’s treasures will be protected for future generations. Spread the word this May by celebrating our community’s treasures and hidden gems! All proceeds from Proud Neighbors of Collingswood’s Porch Brunch & House Tour are donated back to our community to encourage historic preservation in our town, with the emphasis on maintaining the historic character of Collingswood.

Tour Houses
428 W. Browning Road
439 Magill Avenue
316 Virginia Avenue
425 Virginia Avenue
436 Virginia Avenue
546 Grant Avenue
557 Grant Avenue

428 W. Browning Road
This majestic home is a beautiful six bedroom, 2 ½ story brick Colonial Revival style that was built in 1903 by British native S. Canning Childs, who owned a local Camden food store and later became one of the founders of Acme Markets. The exterior of the house is built with a unique speckled brick which is believed to be imported from England. Brown stone dresses up the large oversized windows and doors top and bottom. A large first-floor porch runs the full length of the left side with a second-floor walk-out deck. The roof has three dormers and a widow’s walk that provides front-row seats for local fireworks displays.

439 Magill Avenue
This unique Craftsman Victorian home will delight house tour visitors with features that hail back to its 1910 construction. Back then, it was specified that every house on Virginia and Harrison Avenues have at least 40 feet of frontage and be set back 35 feet from the road. Placed gracefully on a corner lot, you are welcomed by an impressive wraparound porch. The porch cornice boasts multiple wooden corbels with carved wood medallions under the eaves. Newer mahogany enhances the porch floor. The entrance is highlighted by an original light fixture and Craftsman stained glass in the front door sidelights. A stone chimney gives a hint of the exceptional interior qualities inside. You may be surprised to know that the house was originally one floor and was finished as a two-story home in 1955!

316 Virginia Avenue
This quaint two-story structure was built around 1905. The center front door is original and contains beautiful panels framing it from the inside. The living room is dominated by the original brick fireplace, now painted white, and the original pine flooring. As you visit the first floor of this home, be sure to view the many collections the family has acquired during their 40 years living here. You will also have the opportunity to view original artwork painted by the homeowner that is on display throughout this lovely home. Continue out the back to the screened-in porch, where a stenciled vine surrounds the wicker table and chairs. Behind the screened porch is a nice-sized deck built by the homeowner.

425 Virginia Avenue
Built in 1949 for the Birk family, its solid construction is strengthened by rare Swedish tungsten steel beams. You will not hear a creak in the floorboards of this house! Purchased by the current owners in 2002, the new residents exchanged the garage for a beautiful new kitchen, which gives them a full view of the garden.

436 Virginia Avenue
A fine traditional house nestled in a picturesque landscape. This 1975 home is a late addition, by Collingswood standards, to the housing base. The owners chose Collingswood for the same reasons people choose it today: pedestrian-friendly, good schools, and a great place for families. Built by a retired contractor, he researched floor plans, made modifications, and planned how to best build within the existing lot. Over the years the kitchen has had many improvements including new appliances, granite countertops, recessed lighting and a ceramic tile floor. The kitchen also contains a dining area next to a large window with a view of the outside. As you enter via a curving brick walkway, notice the second-floor dormer antique stained glass windows, which were custom-fitted to accent the house.

546 Grant Avenue
With 1,748 square feet of living space, including three kitchens and three patios, this home is prime for entertaining.  A flagstone walkway leads to a tidy stone-front Cape Cod built in 1955. The contemporary idea of the Cape Cod house is ingrained in the national consciousness as stout and steep roofed; nevertheless, they evoke powerful images of warmth and comfort and integrity.  This regional variant with dormers (for headroom) gives this three bedroom beauty a spacious feel. 


557 Grant Avenue
This stunning Center Hall Colonial captures the glamour of the Roaring Twenties in a well-maintained home that retains its original craftsmanship. Built in 1926 for a physician, the home is now owned by a physician and a nurse. It features healthy doses of sunshine throughout its 2-1/2 stories of elegance, which include inlaid oak floors, a brick fireplace with oak mantle and tile hearth, and French doors leading to a heated sun porch. The professional-grade kitchen features a butler’s pantry, ceramic tiles, and cherry-finished cabinets. A wrap-around mahogany back porch provides a cozy nook for relaxing and enjoying a view of the English garden. Since taking ownership a year ago, the owners converted a bedroom into a period-style master bathroom that features a walk-in shower. They also completely restored the front gardens and added blue stone landscape walls and wrought iron railings to the front entrance.

For Porch Brunch reservations call 609-238-5407

Ticket information:
Combination $28; Brunch & Tour
Advance Tour $15
Day-of-Tour    $18

Tour-only Ticket Selling Locations
788 Haddon Avenue - Bauhaus Hair Design Studio
678 Haddon Avenue  - Borough Hall
647 Haddon Avenue  - Grooveground

Tour-day Ticket Selling Location: 647 Haddon Avenue  - Grooveground 

Restrooms available from noon to 4pm at Collingswood Library, 771 Haddon Avenue.

Special Request: Proud Neighbors appreciates your visit and consideration. Please do not wear heels inside tour homes - heels damage wood floors. Thoroughly wipe or remove shoes because abrasives can damage floors.   As a courtesy to our tour homeowners, Proud Neighbors ask respect and privacy; do not enter restricted areas and do not touch any items inside of the home.  Thank you.  Come discover the history, the charm, and the style that lie behind the doors of Collingswood.  Proud Neighbors hope you will champion historic preservation to enhance our community.

For more information e-mail:

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