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history 8-18


Grand View Farm. A large estate house was erected in 1903 at 303 W. State St., in Doylestown. Robert Steel, a wealthy horse breeder from Philadelphia built the mansion near the southern edge of his 350-acre horse farm. His Doylestown Stock Farm figured prominently in The Horse Review publication in the early 1900s, featuring trotters for racing and breeding.

Upon Steel’s death in 1906, the home was purchased by George L Hibbs, a millionaire coal operator and president of the Wheeling Coal and Coke Company. Hibbs died soon thereafter in 1907, but Grand View Farm remained the home of Mrs. (Quin D.) Hibbs until 1925. The farm again changed hands, sold along with 18 acres of land for $60,000 to George Sommer and family, who lived there until 1942.

Sommer was the owner of Doylestown’s Sommermaid Dairy and Creamery on Swamp Road. Louis Hammer, a New York City retired businessman, purchased the farm with 13 acres of land, and renamed it Villa Hammer in 1942. Sold again in 1965, by 1969 the estate house had been demolished and the new owner had constructed the Century House apartments.

Today that apartment complex bears the name of The Metropolitan, but there are still remnants of Grand View Farm on the property: tiles that once bordered the pool and a stone wall supporting the hill from which owners enjoyed the grand view.