Landmark Service at the Shrine to Life.

 

The Mount of the House of the Lord, Woodmont, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania,
Acknowledged by The United States of America

 

 

 




The Mount of the House of the Lord.

The Mount of the House of the Lord.

 

 

First let us say FATHER DIVINE'S Peace Mission Movement has an illustrious History. There are numerous historic and very significant Days that the Peace Mission Movement itself has created and built upon through the years.

Note: Please read the Introduction to this issue of "Enlightenment."

Consequential recognition has been given to the Peace Mission Movement by Government and by esteemed Organizations as described below.

1. The Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania commended FATHER DIVINE for His Ministry in the Community on March 20, 1973.

2. Historic Landmark Status by the town of Islip, Suffolk County, Long, Island, New York, was granted to the FATHER DIVINE Mission at 72 Macon Street, Sayville, on September 10, 1979.

3. The Philadelphia City Council passed a Resolution commending the Peace Mission Movement for forty years of Service to GOD and the community on February 4, 1982.

4. The John Mc Arthur Award for Historic Preservation by the "Restore Philadelphia" Organization was presented to the Peace Mission Movement on October 7, 1984.

5. The Township of Lower Merion in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, presented its Official Award to MOTHER DIVINE and Palace Mission, Incorporated, for the Historic Preservation of the Woodmont Estate that maintains the Quality of Life in the Community, and preserves Open Space on February 27, 1988.

6. The Victorian Society in America presented its Historic Preservation Award for the Year to Woodmont on May 20, 1994.

7. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania erected a Historic Marker in front of the Divine Lorraine Hotel in Philadelphia in honor of FATHER DIVINE for His Civil Rights and Economic Programs, on September 11, 1994.

8. Woodmont was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior and signed by The United States Secretary of Interior, August 5, 1998.

There have been many Epochal Days during the last hundred years or more when momentous events transpired, such as on April 29, 1946, when FATHER DIVINE married His Creation, and took His Spotless Bride, MOTHER DIVINE, but in this article, we are concerned only with instances where FATHER DIVINE received Honor or was recognized in some manner.

 

 



The Award Ceremony

The most august Honor bestowed on Woodmont came on September 12, 1999, when the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior presented a Bronze plaque to The Mount Of "The House Of The LORD at Woodmont. On this Bronze Plaque was inscribed words that designated Woodmont a National Historic Landmark an Honor that is bestowed on only a few places in the Nation.

Crusaders present the Colors

 

 

 

Several hundred people were gathered at the Shrine To Life at 3 p.m. To open the service, three Crusaders in their formal uniforms presented the colors, followed by the Pledge Of Allegiance to the Flag and the singing of "America The Beautiful" by the audience.

 

 

 


Mr. Aaron Hermes Enaharo

 

 

 

Mr. Aaron Hermes Navarro gave the Invocation, in which he thanked FATHER DIVINE for walking among His children all over the world, to demonstrate to them the Actual Ever Presence of GOD being with them at all times. He praised FATHER for bringing the Woodmont Estate to such a State of Perfection that it is worthy to be a National Landmark.


 

 

Federal Government's Highest Award

MOTHER DIVINE at the Shrine To Life

 

 

 

 

MOTHER DIVINE approached the lectern to welcome everyone, and to introduce Ms. Marie Rust, who is the Regional Director of the National Park Service in the Northeast Region, who was present to make the Official Presentation of the Bronze Plaque on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, the Honorable Bruce Babbitt, and Robert Stanton, Director of the National Park Service.

 

 

 

Ms. Rust stated that The National Historic Landmark status

is the highest level of recognition awarded by the Federal Government for historic property. With this action, the Secretary of Interior has chosen to identify Woodmont as a site of National Significance, both for the architectural and the cultural contribution that its owners have made to America.

Ms. Rust continued by saying that the National Park Service cannot manage all the Historic properties, but it depends on the commitment of extraordinary people who are stewards of so much of our Nation's Heritage, and who work diligently to maintain the priceless sites that help to bind us all as a people.

 

 

Marie Rust

 

 

 

 

Ms. Rust added that

In addition to considering the physical significance of the property, we also look at the integrity of the property, and require that it retain the characteristics that defined it as a significant site. Woodmont is especially impressive in this regard. It is obvious that the buildings and grounds of this Great Estate are superbly maintained by the Peace Mission Movement. I wish to recognize MOTHER DIVINE and Her followers for the outstanding job they have done in caring for this Historic Treasure for the past 47 years.


 

 

 

 

 

Unveiling Of The Plaque

I also wish to commend them for their generosity in sharing their Home with the general public as they do. Work, caring and generosity are what stand behind this property and make it the Nationally Significant Landmark that it is! On behalf of the United State Government and the Secretary of the Interior, it is my pleasure to thank MOTHER DIVINE and FATHER DIVINE and all the members of the Peace Mission Movement for Your dedication to the cause of Preservation, and to present you with the National Historic Landmark Plaque for Woodmont.

Then she, with MOTHER DIVINE, unveiled the Plaque, and Ms. Rust read the wording of the Plaque. Landmark Plaque She went on to exclaim:

 

 

 

 

Congratulations! What a great Accomplishment! I am so Proud! It is now my added Honor to introduce a very talented and dedicated Historian, Miss Susan Glass man. Susan researched and wrote the National Landmark Nomination that served as a basis for the Secretary's Designation. She is here today to share with us the reason for this property being a National Significant Historic Site.



 

 

 

 

Woodmont Is The Jewel In The Crown

Later, at the Banquet Table, Ms. Rust had this to say about Woodmont, The Mount Of The House Of The LORD.

There are only 2,176 properties listed as National Historic Landmarks most of which are in the northeast region. I would say that this Site is the Jewel in the Crown of those 2,176 Landmarks! When I was a little girl, I heard about FATHER and MOTHER DIVINE from my parents and it's a great thrill to be here in your company!


 

 

 

Spectacular Weather

Susan Glassman.

Susan Glassman

 

 

 

 

Ms. Glassman. called attention to the astonishingly perfect weather. She said that the day was a "spectacular" day and that it seemed that it was destined that the world should see the House basking in this beautiful weather on this fine day. She said:

It is rather extraordinary and very fitting that we have such a glorious day on which to celebrate the designation of Woodmont as a Landmark. I am going to say a few words about preparing the Nomination.
You've got to deal with a lot of different forms to fill out, and go through a long waiting period. I started to write this Nomination over two years ago and it took until today to come to fruition. The process involves not only writing the description of the House, but also a Statement of its Significance. Then the Park Service considers your Statement and transforms it into a number of areas in which the property has significance.


Significance In Three Areas

One of the remarkable aspects of Woodmont is that it is significant in so many areas. Marie Rust mentioned its Architectural Significance, and it is Significant in the History of Religion. It is Significant in Social History, from the standpoint of the Family the Woods who built the House and the iron works across the way in Conshohocken. It is hard to reduce a very rich History to a few words to describe it in a few categories. It was even hard to decide just what I should talk about today. I'll mention the three major areas that I see.
Obviously, off the top, it is of Architectural Significance the work of a major American architect, William Light foot Price. The House is built in an important American Architectural Style an exciting synthesis of the Chateau Style similar to the ideas of architect Richard Morris Hunt, who designed the "Baltimore House" in Asheville, North Carolina. But it is not just a simple copy of that House. It is a rich interpretation of, and an adaptation to, local Philadelphia vernacular, materials and styles.
An example of those aspects is the witty aphorism over the fireplace concerning the Wood Family "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out." [Proverbs 26:20] This relates to William Price's teacher, Frank Fur ness, who often incorporated these types of aphorisms in his architecture.


Social And Religious History

Woodmont is also an important piece of Social History, and it provides a document concerning an important Philadelphia Quaker Family, the Woods, who amassed a fortune in the iron and steel industry in the nineteenth Century, and became one of the leading producers of steel. Woodmont records its own prominence Socially, but it is augmented by the role of the Alan Wood Steel Company which is now gone and its position in American Industrial History.
There are wonderful little stories that are a part of Woodmont's Industrial past. The site of Woodmont is one of those stories. It is located on a promontory on the Schuylkill River, directly across from the Wood Family Iron Works. As you walk around behind the House, you will notice a small viewing platform [the Rose Arbor Patio]. Any member of the Wood Family could walk out to this platform and look across the river to the iron works.
Also it was remarkable that Alan Wood's Company was one of the last family owned steel companies that was not to be swept up in Andrew Carnegie's takeover of the steel industry at the turn of the Century.
Lastly, the third area is that Woodmont is an important piece of Religious History. It became the Home of MOTHER and FATHER DIVINE and the Peace Mission Movement in 1952 coming into prominence early in the Twentieth Century, through its Religious and Social Programs, and as Pioneers in Civil Rights and Equality. They have been exceptional stewards of this site, and I think they really continued the Spirit that was born here earlier.


 

 

Exciting Architecture That Is Fun


The next speaker was Architectural Historian, Dr. George Thomas. In his remarks, he reminisced that when he saw some of the buildings 30 years ago, that William Price had designed, he was overwhelmed with the fact that Price's modern architecture was exciting that was fun that was rich and colorful everything that so much contemporary architecture did not seem to be.

 

Dr. George Thomas

Dr. George Thomas

 

 

 

This discovery caused Mr. Thomas to resolve to see more of Price's work and led him to visit Woodmont and meet MOTHER DIVINE 30 years ago. Then his interest in Price wavered until recently when he finally realized how important William Price was. Thereupon, in the past year, he has written a biography of Price that will be published next April.

When Dr. Thomas first saw Woodmont, he was struck with the fact that it was the work of a young man of only 31 years.

William Price and his brother had seen millionaire Vanderbilt's "Baltimore" in North Carolina, and they realized that architecture did not have to be staid and dry as some of the buildings in Philadelphia were. He saw in Woodmont a young man's design a young man's achievement heroic, exciting, invigorating in its character. This is something a young architect does. He doesn't hold anything back he gives you everything he has!


Vision Of Father And Mother Divine

Dr. Thomas remarked that, as he gets older, he appreciates seeing the Manor House at Woodmont in its wonderful setting on the grounds seeing the House as a Mountain as an extension of the Mount upon which Woodmont is built. Because of its great pyramidal roof and the Gothic detail of the Manor House, he imagines that William Price was a reincarnated medieval architect come back to life to do houses like this one.

Dr. Thomas stated that

all of the eminent buildings that Price designed are gone except Woodmont, which stands alone as a memorial to all of his great buildings. And it stands because FATHER and MOTHER DIVINE, in 1952, had the Vision to acquire this building, and begin restoration. Now, 47 years later, it is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

 



A House Preserved By Faith

Dr. Leonard Norman Primiano is Professor of Religious Studies at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania. He studies and teaches American Religious History and American Religious Folk Life. He came to the lectern and presented an Essay on the magnitude of the occasion. Here are excerpts:

 

 

Dr. Leonard Primiano

 

 

 

This House and Grounds would not exist today if it were not for FATHER DIVINE and His International Peace Mission Movement. It would not exist without MOTHER DIVINE. It would not exist without the dedication of the followers of FATHER and MOTHER DIVINE. This is a house preserved and maintained by Faith in the belief of Peace Mission members that FATHER DIVINE is GOD, who empowered them as a Community to accomplish remarkable works.

MOTHER DIVINE has said to my students over the years that FATHER DIVINE'S Personal Presence is important, but that it is best to think of FATHER DIVINE as a Principle a Standard for living. It is best to achieve Perfection of Spiritual Consciousness with GOD, and adopt a Standard for living one's life through hard work, dedication to duty, and maintaining a strict morality.


A Religious Landmark

This Property is testimony to FATHER DIVINE'S Principle that there is Abundance in Virtue that the accumulation of virtuous acts results in great things for the Community not only His community, but the entire Community of Americans. For a Peace Mission member, those Virtues include a dedicated Love of America, the Principle of Justice, Racial Harmony, Freedom of Enterprise, and especially the Freedom of Religion. These are Principles defined in America's Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.
By designating this Building a Historic Landmark, this Place is designated a Religious Landmark as well. In fact, even if this Great House were not here, this Land would be distinguished, and sacred to the Peace Mission, because it was one of the greatest Projects of FATHER DIVINE not simply the location of His Enshrinement His Shrine To Life at this spot but the establishment of Woodmont as a Place of Beauty and Spiritual Perfection.


The Perfection Of GOD

Everything you see around you has been maintained, not only because the Peace Mission appreciates the Heritage of American Architecture and Space, but also because within the Beauty of this architectural Perfection and Perfection of Landscape, the membership sees the Abundance and Perfection of GOD. They see Woodmont as a reflection of the Perfection FATHER DIVINE recognized in America, and exemplified in its Foundation. Finally, the members see Woodmont as a Place where anyone can come into direct contact with the Perfection of GOD'S Consciousness, a Place to work on the Unity humans seek with the Consciousness of GOD.
The maintenance of all of this natural and human made Beauty is an essential aspect of the aesthetic of the Peace Mission. A heroic aesthetic may have inspired the Creation of this Space, but the Peace Mission aesthetic has lovingly maintained and perfected it for all citizens of the world for almost fifty years and into the New Millennium.


America's Religious Life Recognized By Government

Woodmont is a Tribute to FATHER DIVINE'S Work to the perfectionist Utopian Community that HE established. I personally rejoice that such a significant part of America's Religious Life has been recognized by the Government of the United States of America, and cherished for the multiple expressions of distinctive American Religious Beauty that it displays.

 

 

 

MOTHER DIVINE thanked Dr. Primiano for his thoughts, and proceeded to introduce the next speaker, Judge Clifford Scott Green. SHE said:

Attorney J. Austin Norris was a friend of FATHER DIVINE. He came to FATHER and learned much from FATHER on how to bring about Civil Rights. Austin Norris gathered young law students, especially from Yale University, into his Law Firm, and counseled them so that they would be able to give good service and contribute something to the legal field. Two of these men are with us today, Judge William Hall and Judge Clifford Scott Green. We are very pleased that Judge Green is our next speaker.

Judge Clifford Scott Green

Judge Clifford Scott Green

 

 

 

Judge Green speaks.

MOTHER DIVINE, Judge Hall and I are thrilled at the opportunity to be here with YOU. It is indeed a great Honor. It is very significant that the Peace Mission has enhanced the beauty of this Property.
I first met Austin Norris in 1950 after I had finished Law School. During my days in Law School, I had read of FATHER DIVINE. Not all of the articles were as gracious as they should have been, but Austin Norris was a great admirer of FATHER DIVINE, and he would often sit and talk to me about FATHER DIVINE'S accomplishments, and what it meant to have this model Peace Mission Society in an era where there was much strife.
We talked about the problems of the world how to feed the hungry, how to shelter those without homes.


An Hour With FATHER More Fruitful Than Seven Years In College

It was my thought then and I've always thought back that I had just spent four years getting an undergraduate degree and three years getting a law degree and in about an hour with FATHER DIVINE, I had acquired more understanding and wisdom than I did in the full seven years of formal education.
It was marvelous to watch the achievements of the Peace Mission Movement. There were Hotels; there were Missions opening. I had a chance to meet with FATHER DIVINE only sparingly, but I met with many of the members of the Mission.


FATHER'S Followers Have Understanding and Compassion

These meetings with the members of the Mission were always inspiring, because at last, I was dealing, not with greed, not with those who had ill will and malice towards others, but with people of great understanding and great compassion, and were interested in feeding the world, housing those who could not find housing, seeing that there was treatment for those who needed medical or other treatment.
I want to mention just one thing that this is a magnificent setting. I cannot imagine that there is a more beautiful setting anywhere. I have heard that the architecture is unique and powerful, but this Tribute today the National Historic Landmark should be bestowed upon the Peace Mission even if you did not have this setting even if you did not have the historical architecture solely on the basis of the Social and Civic changes that FATHER DIVINE and MOTHER DIVINE have brought about. So I congratulate you and I can't tell you how happy Judge Hall and I are to be present today!

 

 

Following the remarks of Judge Green, the Rosebud Choir rendered two selections, "FATHER DIVINE, Your Works We Crown," and "Come To The Mount Of The House Of The LORD."

MOTHER DIVINE came again to the lectern to introduce a prominent citizen of the Town of Gladwyne, where Woodmont is located. Dr. Martin Philips is past President of the Gladwyne Civic Association, President of the River bend Educational Environmental Organization and a member of the Planning Commission of Lower Merion.



 

Lower Merion Citizens Proud Of Woodmont

 

 

Dr. Martin Philips

 

 

Dr. Philips said:

 

 

 

I bring greetings from Ken Davis, the President of the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners. He sends his greetings, and I can tell you that he and the members of the Board and all the citizens of Lower Merion Township are very proud of Woodmont of the Peace Movement that exists here in Gladwyne.

Two major concerns of Ken Davis are Historic Preservation and Preservation of Open Space in the Land. Well we have both right here! There is no doubt in my mind nor in anyone's mind that this is the most beautiful property in our township and now that it is a National Historic Landmark, we know it will not be destroyed! It will be here forever and ever!

At this point, Dr. Philips introduced several members of the Family which built the Manor House long ago the Woods who were seated nearby. They arose from their seats and were applauded by the audience. Dr. Philips then continued by saying:

We are so thankful to MOTHER and FATHER DIVINE and the Peace Movement for being stewards of this wonderful property, and preserving it for years to come.

When he was a child fifty years ago in the 40s, Dr. Philips learned about the good Works of FATHER DIVINE and the beautiful Banquets that HE served for the Community. Six or eight years ago, he came to Woodmont to meet MOTHER DIVINE, and he participated in a Banquet like the ones he heard about as a child. He concluded by exclaiming:



FATHER And MOTHER DIVINE Making A Difference

I am just thrilled to consider myself a personal friend of MOTHER DIVINE and everyone in the Township just loves YOU and appreciates YOU for what YOU are doing. YOU are really making a difference and really having an impact on the Community of Lower Merion!

 

 

 

 

MOTHER DIVINE next had the pleasure of presenting the Honorable Marion Mele, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Montgomery County. Mr. Mele spoke earnestly as follows:

Peace to Everyone! It is truly a privilege for me to be here representing 700,000 residents of Montgomery County. We heard from those who spoke before me Dr. Thomas, Dr. Primiano, Dr. Philips, Judge Green and the very special people from the National Park Service, that Woodmont is a magnificent manifestation of architecture, of character, and of integrity.


Eventually Great Work Is Recognized

As we approach the close of the Millennium, I am aware that it took over one hundred years for this magnificent Edifice, which was built in 1892, to be recognized, demonstrating that great Work is often recognized only after considerable time has passed. Many experiences are that way. I am emphasizing this point with an analogy, because it is also true with FATHER and MOTHER DIVINE. Their Work was not truly understood years ago. It took time! Time heals all things! Today, we are witnessing a Grand Manifestation of the true Vision of FATHER DIVINE, MOTHER DIVINE and the Peace Mission Movement.

 

The Honorable Marion Mele

 

The Honorable Mario Mele

 

 

 

The Department of the Interior recognizing true Architecture and true works of Art acts as an inspiration for present day architects whose work will be recognized also in the due course of time.



The ETERNAL ARCHITECT Gives Us Eternal Values

I don't have to remind you that we are living in changing times. Values, as we have known them, are being replaced by other superficial values whereas the Values professed by the Peace Mission Movement are lasting, Eternal Values. They were given to us by the ETERNAL ARCHITECT, but the values we see today are short lived and temporal.
I hope that people are inspired and motivated by this Event today, and that the Values which FATHER DIVINE has, and that MOTHER DIVINE has, in this efficient Movement, will be preserved for many, many years to .come! This Edifice is a material manifestation, but the Peace Mission is truly a Spiritual Manifestation that we recognize today. To all of you thank you! and thanks to MOTHER DIVINE for Your Great Work. May GOD Bless YOU!

 

 

The Rosebud Choir sang a very expressive song dedicated to the Shrine To Life the Glistening Jewel on the Mountain Top which speaks of the coming of Heaven on earth, and GOD dwelling with His People. The last words of the song refer to FATHER'S Glory on earth, and that through the Portals of Sacrifice, sin is dissolved and man, victoriously Free, will Emerge!

FATHER DIVINE pronounced the Benediction in His Own Voice on tape. And with the retiring of the Colors by the three Crusaders, this inspiring Service came to conclusion. Then most of the crowd accepted MOTHER DIVINE'S invitation to come to the Shrine To Life, and pay their Respects to FATHER DIVINE, and then view the Bronze Plaque at the Porte Cochere of the Manor House, where it will be permanently mounted.

 

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GOD is a free gift to the world. Any and all of the material on this and other pages may be copied and reproduced.

Use the material freely but respect FATHER DIVINE'S intent, which was and is, to provide us all with the keys to eternal health and happiness without cost or price. HE truly came as a free gift to the world, gratis to mankind.

It is also nice to give credit where credit is due for through the Spirit and Teaching of FATHER and MOTHER DIVINE you are and can eternally be abundantly blessed.

From all of us to all of you. we wish you, peace and love, and many blessings, and may we all ever live in unity and brotherhood and the Consciousness of GOD'S Actual Ever Presence.

True Americanism, True Brotherhood, True Christianity, True Judaism and All True Religions are synonymous and truly Our GOD is One GOD. Amen

Thank you for visiting our page.

Thank YOU, FATHER and MOTHER DIVINE for allowing us to put this information on line.

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