History of Leeland Mansion

The Leeland Mansion is the former home of John Elwood Lee. John Elwood Lee was born in Conshohocken on November 15th, 1860 and was the son of Bradford Adams Lee and Sara A Raysor. Immediately after graduating in 1879, and with his life savings of $28.35, J Elwood Lee entered the surgical instrument business. He eventually started his own business in the attic of the his parents home, making bandages, ligatures and a few like surgical necessities. From this small business sprung a great industrial enterprise and his products are what helped make modern surgical tools what they are today. Beside surgical equipment, his company also manufactured antiseptic preparations of all kinds, gloves, water bottles, catheters and medical tubing. In 1905 he merged his medical supply operations with Johnson & Johnson.

On April 12th 1882, he married Miss Jennie W Cleaver who was also native to Conshohocken.  In May of 1893, Lee and his wife had a three-story, twenty-three room mansion built on 8th and Fayette Street, now known as Leeland Mansion. The Leeland Mansion is where he and Jennie raised their four children, Mary, Elsie, J. Elwood Jr, and Herbert.

In 1910, after seeing the popularity of automobiles, he started his second enterprise which eventually became one of the ten largest tire and rubber companies in the United States, known as "JELCO" and "Lee of Conshohocken tires". By the time he was 30 years old he had built an empire and had an massive amount of fortune.  After getting into the tire business J Elwood Lee died on April 8th, 1914. By 1962, the success of Lee of Conshohocken started to decline. A New York firm took over and changed its name to Lee National Corporation and the corporation was sold to Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1965.

For years following, the Leeland Mansion has been used as a meeting and gathering space for local businesses.


Today the Leeland Room in the Mansion is rented out to guests who want to partake in the rich history of the building and make many of their own memories in this beautifully restored room.

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John Elwood Lee  (1860-1913)
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