Ardrossan Connects Generations and Memories

The vibrance of Charlotte Hope Binney (Tyler) Montgomery's spirit is alive and well in Ardrossan, providing comfort and memories for younger generations and those to come.

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Photo by Tom CraneJoan Mackie looks down at her left hand, startled for a second that it’s missing one of her family’s ancestral rings. She usually wears it, though not right now. Tonight, she’s attending a spring benefit for Radnor Memorial Library at Ardrossan, her family’s Villanova estate.

The adopted daughter of Mary Binney Montgomery Wheeler, Mackie was never viewed as anything but family. The ring in question—a gift from her grandfather’s sister, Mary Montgomery Halsey—was bestowed on her just after her adoption. She was 2 months old.

Mary Binney (family and friends used both names) married steel industry executive John Pearce Wheeler when Mackie was 3. Mackie lived at Ardrossan until her parents married. All six grandchildren of Col. Robert Leaming Montgomery and Charlotte Hope Binney (Tyler) Montgomery resided on the estate at some point. Mackie is the youngest. Her sister, Mary von Czoernig, whom Binney also adopted as a single mother, died in 2011. Three others—Edgar Scott Jr., Robert Montgomery and Alix Montgomery Estey—are still living.

Mackie’s parents met at a family birthday party and married six months later. That first night, Mary intentionally left a compact behind on the ride home. John, who that night pledged to marry her in three months, had to call again—if only to return it.

Mackie often visited her grandmother at the manor house. “We all did,” she says. “There was a tea every afternoon, and we could come if we wanted. She was the most charming woman on earth and took such a genuine interest in people. I still get teary-eyed. I adored her.”

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