The Dunwoody Home in Newtown Square shortly after it opened. Read the story of the founder. William Dunwoody below
Note: Many of you know the Dunwoody Village/Home at 3500 West Chester Pike in Newtown Square. But the history of it, which dates back over 100 years, is very interesting. William Dunwoody made his money out west but never forgot his home town. An article from 1914.
MILLION FOR NEW HOSPITAL
William H. Dunwoody Bequeaths Site and Fund for Institution at Newtown Square
William Hood Dunwoody left his home at Newtown Square, this county, fifty-one years ago, and went to Philadelphia, where he engaged in business. Seven years later he went west to make his fortune. He located in Minneapolis, Minn., and by strict attention to business amassed a fortune of several millions of dollars. Last week Mr. Dunwoody died, at the age of 72 years, leaving an estate valued at $8,000,000, his will containing a bequest of $1,000,000 for the construction and maintenance of a hospital for poor convalescents, a tribute to the memory of his birthplace in this county. The will specifies that the hospital be erected on the Dunwoody farm at Newtown Square, one hundred and twenty-five acres of the old homestead given as a site for the building.
Forty-four years ago, Mr. Dunwoody, then a young man of 28, gave up his interest in a flour business in Philadelphia and, with his wife, went to Minneapolis when that city was just beginning to be one of the great business centers of the northwest, and Mr. Dunwoody was one of the men who aided in its commercial and industrial development.
While a central figure in the development of his chosen city, Mr. Dunwoody never neglected his relatives in this county. Some years ago he bought his brother’s interest in the farm, and made two visits each year to it. Mr. and Mrs. George Beaumont, cousins of Mr. Dunwoody, live in the old farmhouse.
While his relatives knew he gave liberally to institutions in the West, they did not know until Saturday that he intended to build a hospital on the site of his boyhood home.
Men on the board of trustees named by Mr. Dunwoody to take charge of the hospital project are Dr. J.K. Mitchell, S.K. Zook, Albert L. Hood, W .T. Gest, all of Philadelphia; Stanley Yarnall, Media; Dr. J.G. Thomas and Randall P. Dutton, of West Chester, and D. H. Lewis of Newtown Square, and four Minneapolis men, John Crosby, F.G. Atkinson, G.W. Erticker and James S. Babb.
FORTUNE IN GRAIN
The Dunwoody fortune was made in the grain and flour business and early railroad ventures in the northwest. Mr. Dunwoody was also interested in many banks. At his death he held the following positions: Chairman board of directors Northwestern National Bank, director Minneapolis Loan and Trust Company, president St. Anthony and Dakota and St. Anthony elevator companies, president Baraum Grain Company; vice president Washburn-Crosby Company, director Great Northern Railroad.
Before Mr. Dunwoody left for the West he married Kate L. Patton, daughter of John W. Patton, a leather merchant of Philadelphia. Relatives say he always attributed his great business success to his wife, who had her father’s keen business sense.
She survives him and will continue to live in the beautiful Dunwoody home, “Overlook” at Minneapolis.
Her sister, Miss Alice Patton, lives at Wayne, while a brother, John M. Patton is a Philadelphian. Among Mr. Dunwoody’s relatives are the Beaumonts who live at the farm; Mrs. Mary Dunwoody of West Chester; Wilmer Hood and Albert L. Hood of Philadelphia, and W. D. and Dr. J. e. Dunwoody of Llanerch. He has one other brother living in Colorado.
As banker, Miller, art patron, and philanthropist, Mr. Dunwoody was widely known in the northwest. He opened a direct market for Minneapolis flour in Europe, introduced the roller system of crushing wheat, and was a leader in the production, classification and selling of by-products of the milling business.
As a philanthropist he was most generous. He gave $2,000,000 to the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts for the museum building. He gave to all kinds of charitable institutions in a way to attract the least attention.
For many generations the Dunwoody’s were farmers of Chester County. His great grandfather tilled the soil there. James Dunwoody, his father, was a man of high standing in the community. His mother, Hannah Hood, was a daughter of William Hood of Delaware County, a descendant of John Hood, one of the companions of William Penn.
GAVE MONEY TO “FRIENDS”
Recently Mr. Dunwoody spent $15,000 on improvements at the Friends’ Meeting House, Newtown Square. Members of his family had long been connected with the meeting. A concrete wall was built around the burying ground, and gateways were constructed.
The smaller bequests have not been made public, but it is expected that his relatives will benefit. Among other large bequests were $100,000 to the Presbyterian board of foreign missions; $100,000 to Presbyterian board of home mission; $100,000 to Westminster Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis, of which he was a trustee.