The Colonial Architecture of Philadelphia
Nine hundred and seventy-five copies of The Colonial Architecture of Philadelphia, of which nine hundred and fifty are for sale, have been printed from type and the type distributed.
This copy is Number 201
The Colonial Architecture of Philadelphia
Frank Cousins and Phil M. Riley
Little, Brown, and Company
BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.
All rights reserved
So many books have been published which are devoted wholly or in part to the fine old Colonial residences and public buildings of Philadelphia, including Germantown, that it might seem almost the part of temerity to suppose there could be a place for another one. A survey of the entire list, however, discloses the fact that almost without exception these books are devoted primarily to a picture of the city in Colonial times, to the stories of its old houses and other buildings now remaining, or to an account of the activities of those who peopled them from one to two centuries ago. Some more or less complete description of the structures mentioned has occasionally been included, to be sure, but almost invariably this has been subordinate to the main theme. The narrative has been woven upon a historical rather than an architectural background, so that these books appeal to the tourist, historian and antiquary rather than to the architect, student and prospective home builder.
Interesting as was the provincial life of this community; absorbing as are the reminiscences attaching to its well-known early buildings; important as were the activities of those who made them part and parcel of our national life, the Colonial architecture of this vicinity is in itself a priceless heritage—extensive, meritorious, substantial, distinctive. It is a heritage not only of local but of national interest, deserving detailed description, analysis and comparison in a book which includes historic facts only to lend true local color and impart human interest to the narrative, to indicate the sources of affluence and culture which aided so materially in developing this architecture, and to describe the life and manners of the time which determined its design and arrangement. Such a book the authors have sought to make the present volume, and both Mr. Riley in writing the text and Mr. Cousins in illustrating it have been actuated primarily by architectural rather than historic values, although in most instances worthy of inclusion the two are inseparable.
For much of the historic data the authors acknowledge their indebtedness to the authors of previous Philadelphia books, notably "Philadelphia, the City and Its People" and "The Literary History of Philadelphia", Ellis Paxon Oberholtzer; "Old Roads Out of Philadelphia" and "The Romance of Old Philadelphia", John Thomson Faris; "The History of Philadelphia" and "Historic Mansions of Philadelphia", T. Westcott; "The Colonial Homes of Philadelphia and Its Neighborhood", Harold Donaldson Eberlein and Horace Mather Lippincott; "Colonial Mansions ", Thomas Allen Glenn; "The Guide Book to Historic Germantown", Charles Francis Jenkens; "Germantown Road and Its Associations", Townsend Ward. Ph. B. Wallace, of Philadelphia, photographed some of the best subjects.
The original boundaries of Philadelphia remained unchanged for one hundred and seventy-five years after the founding of the city, the adjoining territory, as it became populated, being erected into corporated districts in the following order: Southwark, 1762; Northern Liberties, 1771; Moyamensing, 1812; Spring Garden, 1813; Kensington, 1820; Penn, 1844; Richmond, 1847; West Philadelphia, 1851; and Belmont, 1853. In 1854 all these districts, together with the boroughs of Germantown, Frankford, Manayunk, White Hall, Bridesburg and Aramingo, and the townships of Passyunk, Blockley, Kingsessing, Roxborough, Germantown, Bristol, Oxford, Lower Dublin, Moreland, Byberry, Delaware and Penn were abolished by an act of the State legislature, and the boundaries of the city of Philadelphia were extended to the Philadelphia county lines.
Such of these outlying communities as had been settled prior to the Revolution were closely related to Philadelphia by common interests, a common provincial government and a common architecture. For these reasons, therefore, it seems more logical that this treatise devoted to the Colonial architecture of the first capitol of the United States should embrace the greater city of the present day rather than confine itself to the city proper of Colonial times. Otherwise it would be a problem where to draw the line, and much of value would be omitted. The wealth of material thus comprehended is so great, however, that it is impossible in a single book of ordinary size to include more than a fractional part of it. An attempt has therefore been made to present an adequate number of representative types chosen with careful regard, first, to their architectural merit, and second, to their historic interest. Exigencies of space are thus the only reason for the omission of numerous excellent houses without historic association and others rich in history but deficient in architecture.
FRANK COUSINS AND PHIL M. RILEY.
APRIL 1, 1920
I. PHILADELPHIA ARCHITECTURE 1
II. GEORGIAN COUNTRY HOUSES OF BRICK 16
III. CITY RESIDENCES OF BRICK 38
IV. LEDGE-STONE COUNTRY HOUSES 53
V. PLASTERED STONE COUNTRY HOUSES 69
VI. HEWN STONE COUNTRY HOUSES 86
VII. DOORWAYS AND PORCHES 101
VIII. WINDOWS AND SHUTTERS 134
IX. HALLS AND STAIRCASES 153
X. MANTELS AND CHIMNEY PIECES 169
XI. INTERIOR WOOD FINISH 185
XII. PUBLIC BUILDINGS 196
List of Plates
I. Doorway, Cliveden, Germantown Frontispiece
II. Old Mermaid Inn, Mount Airy; Old Red Lion Inn 6
III. Camac Street, "The Street of Little Clubs"; Woodford, Northern Liberties, Fairmount Park. Erected by William Coleman in 1756 7
IV. Stenton, Germantown Avenue, Germantown. Erected by James Logan in 1727 12
V. Hope Lodge, Whitemarsh Valley. Erected by Samuel Morris in 1723; Home of Stephen Girard 13
VI. Port Royal House, Frankford. Erected in 1762 by Edward Stiles 16
VII. Blackwell House, 224 Pine Street. Erected about 1765 by John Stamper; Wharton House, 336 Spruce Street. Erected prior to 1796 by Samuel Pancoast 17
VIII. Morris House, 225 South Eighth Street. Erected in 1786 by John Reynolds 20
IX. Wistar House, Fourth and Locust Streets. Erected about 1750; Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street 21
X. Glen Fern, on Wissahickon Creek, Germantown. Erected about 1747 by Thomas Shoemaker; Grumblethorpe, 5261 Germantown Avenue, Germantown. Erected in 1744 by John Wister 24
XI. Upsala, Germantown Avenue and Upsala Streets, Germantown. Erected in 1798 by John Johnson; End Perspective of Upsala 25
XII. The Woodlands, Blockley Township, West Philadelphia. Erected in 1770 by William Hamilton; Stable at The Woodlands 28
XIII. Wyck, Germantown Avenue and Walnut Lane, Germantown. Erected by Hans Millan about 1690; Hall and Entrance Doorways, Wyck 29
XIV. Mount Pleasant, Northern Liberties, Fairmount Park. Erected in 1761 by Captain James Macpherson; The Main House, Mount Pleasant 32
XV. Deschler-Perot-Morris House, 5442 Germantown Avenue, Germantown. Erected in 1772 by Daniel Deschler; Vernon, Vernon Park, Germantown. Erected in 1803 by James Matthews 33
XVI. Loudoun, Germantown Avenue and Apsley Street, Germantown. Erected in 1801 by Thomas Armat; Solitude, Blockley Township, Fairmount Park. Erected in 1785 by John Penn 34
XVII. Cliveden, Germantown Avenue and Johnson Street, Germantown. Erected in 1781 by Benjamin Chew 35
XVIII. Detail of Cliveden Facade; Detail of Bartram House Facade 40
XIX. The Highlands, Skippack Pike, Whitemarsh. Erected in 1796 by Anthony Morris 41
XX. Bartram House, Kingsessing, West Philadelphia. Erected in 1730-31 by John Bartram; Old Green Tree Inn, 6019 Germantown Avenue, Germantown. Erected in 1748 46
XXI. Johnson House, 6306 Germantown Avenue, Germantown. Erected in 1765-68 by Dirck Jansen; Billmeyer House, Germantown Avenue, Germantown. Erected in 1727 47
XXII. Hooded Doorway, Johnson House, Germantown; Hooded Doorway, Green Tree Inn 52
XXIII. Pedimental Doorway, 114 League Street; Pedimental Doorway, 5933 Germantown Avenue 53
XXIV. Doorway, 5011 Germantown Avenue; Doorway, Morris House, 225 South Eighth Street 56
XXV. Doorway, 6504 Germantown Avenue; Doorway, 709 Spruce Street 57
XXVI. Doorway, 5200 Germantown Avenue; Doorway, 4927 Frankford Avenue 60
XXVII. Doorway, Powel House, 244 South Third Street; Doorway, Wharton House, 336 Spruce Street 61
XXVIII. Doorway, 301 South Seventh Street 64
XXIX. Doorway, Grumblethorpe, 5621 Germantown Avenue; Doorway, 6105 Germantown Avenue 65
XXX. Doorway, Doctor Denton's House, Germantown 68
XXXI. West Entrance, Mount Pleasant, Fairmount Park; East Entrance, Mount Pleasant 69
XXXII. Doorway, Solitude, Fairmount Park; Doorway, Perot-Morris House, 5442 Germantown Avenue 72
XXXIII. Entrance Porch and Doorway, Upsala, Germantown; Elliptical Porch and Doorway, 39 Fisher's Lane, Wayne Junction 73
XXXIV. Doorway, 224 South Eighth Street; Doorway, Stenton 78
XXXV. Doorway and Ironwork, Southeast Corner of Eighth and Spruce Streets 79
XXXVI. Doorway and Ironwork, Northeast Corner of Third and Pine Streets; Stoop with Curved Stairs and Iron Handrail, 316 South Third Street 84
XXXVII. Stoop and Balustrade, Wistar House; Stoop and Balustrade, 130 Race Street 85
XXXVIII. Detail of Iron Balustrade, 216 South Ninth Street; Stoop with Wing Flights, 207 La Grange Alley 88
XXXIX. Iron Newel, Fourth and Liberty Streets; Iron Newel, 1107 Walnut Street 89
XL. Footscraper, Wyck; Old Philadelphia Footscraper; Footscraper, Third and Spruce Streets; Footscraper, Dirck-Keyser House, Germantown 92
XLI. Footscraper, 320 South Third Street; Footscraper, South Third Street; Footscraper, Vernon, Germantown; Footscraper, 239 Pine Street 93
XLII. Iron Stair Rail and Footscraper, South Seventh Street (section); Iron Stair Rail and Footscraper, South Fourth Street (section); Iron Stair Rail and Footscraper, Seventh and Locust Streets (section); Iron Stair Rail and Footscraper, Seventh and Locust Streets (section) 98
XLIII. Detail of Window and Shutters, Morris House 99
XLIV. Window and Shutters, Free Quakers' Meeting House, Fifth and Arch Streets; Second Story Window, Free Quakers' Meeting House 102
XLV. Detail of Window, Combes Alley; Window and Shutters, Cliveden; Window, Bartram House 103
XLVI. Window, Stenton; Window and Shutters, 128 Race Street 106
XLVII. Dormer, Witherill House, 130 North Front Street; Dormer, 6105 Germantown Avenue, Germantown; Foreshortened Window, Morris House; Dormer, Stenton; Window and Shutters, Witherill House; Window and Blinds, 6105 Germantown Avenue 107
XLVIII. Shutter Fastener, Cliveden; Shutter Fastener, Wyck; Shutter Fastener, Perot-Morris House; Shutter Fastener, 6043 Germantown Avenue 110
XLIX. Detail of Round Headed Window, Congress Hall; Detail of Round Headed Window, Christ Church 111
L. Fenestration, Chancel End, St. Peter's Church 114
LI. Details of Round Headed Windows, Christ Church 115
LII. Chancel Window, Christ Church; Palladian Window and Doorway, Independence Hall 118
LIII. Palladian Window, The Woodlands 119
LIV. Great Hall and Staircase, Stenton 122
LV. Hall and Staircase, Whitby Hall; Detail of Staircase, Whitby Hall 123
LVI. Hall and Staircase, Mount Pleasant; Second Floor Hall Archway and Palladian Window, Mount Pleasant 126
LVII. Hall and Staircase, Cliveden; Staircase Detail, Cliveden 127
LVIII. Detail of Staircase Balustrade and Newel, Upsala; Staircase Balustrade, Roxborough 130
LIX. Staircase Detail, Upsala; Staircase Balustrade, Gowen House, Mount Airy 131
LX. Detail of Stair Ends, Carpenter House, Third and Spruce Streets; Detail of Stair Ends, Independence Hall (horizontal section) 134
LXI. Chimney Piece in the Hall, Stenton; Chimney Piece and Paneled Wall, Great Chamber, Mount Pleasant 135
LXII. Chimney Piece and Paneled Wall, Parlor, Whitby Hall 138
LXIII. Chimney Piece, Parlor, Mount Pleasant; Chimney Piece, Parlor, Cliveden 139
LXIV. Chimney Piece and Paneled Wall on the Second Floor of an Old Spruce Street House; Detail of Mantel, 312 Cypress Street 142
LXV. Parlor Mantel, Upsala; Detail of Parlor Mantel, Upsala 143
LXVI. Mantel at Upsala; Mantel at Third and DeLancy Streets 144
LXVII. Mantel, Rex House, Mount Airy; Mantel at 729 Walnut Street 145
LXVIII. Parlor, Stenton; Reception Room, Stenton 148
LXIX. Dining Room, Stenton; Library, Stenton 149
LXX. Pedimental Doorway, First Floor, Mount Pleasant; Pedimental Doorway, Second Floor, Mount Pleasant 152
LXXI. Doorways, Second Floor Hall, Mount Pleasant; Doorway Detail, Whitby Hall 153
LXXII. Inside of Front Door, Whitby Hall; Palladian Window on Stair Landing, Whitby Hall 156
LXXIII. Window Detail, Parlor, Whitby Hall; Window Detail, Dining Room, Whitby Hall 157
LXXIV. Ceiling Detail, Solitude; Cornice and Frieze Detail, Solitude 160
LXXV. Independence Hall, Independence Square Side. Begun in 1731 161
LXXVI. Independence Hall, Chestnut Street Side 164
LXXVII. Independence Hall, Stairway; Liberty Bell, Independence Hall 165
LXXVIII. Stairway Landing, Independence Hall; Palladian Window at Stairway Landing 170
LXXIX. Declaration Chamber, Independence Hall 171
LXXX. Judge's Bench, Supreme Court Room, Independence Hall; Arcade at Opposite End of Court Room 174
LXXXI. Banquet Hall, Second Floor, Independence Hall; Entrance to Banquet Hall 175
LXXXII. Congress Hall, Sixth and Chestnut Streets. Completed in 1790; Congress Hall from Independence Square 180
LXXXIII. Stair Hall Details, Congress Hall 181
LXXXIV. Interior Detail of Main Entrance, Congress Hall; President's Dais, Senate Chamber, Congress Hall 190
LXXXV. Gallery, Senate Chamber, Congress Hall 191
LXXXVI. Carpenters' Hall, off Chestnut Street between South Third and South Fourth Streets. Erected in 1770; Old Market House, Second and Pine Streets 196
LXXXVII. Main Building, Pennsylvania Hospital. Erected in 1755 197
LXXXVIII. Main Hall and Double Staircase, Pennsylvania Hospital 206
LXXXIX. Custom House, Fifth and Chestnut Streets. Completed in 1824; Main Building, Girard College. Begun in 1833 207
XC. Old Stock Exchange, Walnut and Dock Streets; Girard National Bank, 116 South Third Street 210
XCI. Christ Church, North Second Street near Market Street. Erected in 1727-44; Old Swedes' Church, Swanson and Christian Streets. Erected in 1698-1700 211
XCII. St. Peter's Church, South Third and Pine Streets. Erected in 1761; Lectern, St. Peter's Church 216
XCIII. Interior and Chancel, Christ Church; Interior and Lectern, St. Peter's Church 217
XCIV. Interior and Chancel, Old Swedes' Church; St. Paul's Church, South Third Street near Walnut Street 220
XCV. Mennonite Meeting House, Germantown. Erected in 1770; Holy Trinity Church, South Twenty-first and Walnut Streets 221
The Colonial Architecture of Philadelphia
Philadelphia occupies a unique position in American architecture. Few of the early settled cities of the United States can boast so extensive or so notable a collection of dwellings and public buildings in the so-called Colonial style, many of them under auspices that insure their indefinite perpetuation. These beautiful old structures are almost exclusively of brick and stone and of a more elaborate and substantial character than any contemporary work to be found above the Mason and Dixon line which later became in part the boundary between the North and the South. Erected and occupied by the leading men of substance of the Province of Pennsylvania, the fine old countryseats, town residences and public buildings of the "City of Brotherly Love" not only comprise a priceless architectural inheritance, but the glamour of their historic association renders them almost national monuments, and so object lessons of material assistance in keeping alive the spirit and ideals of true Americanism.
Much of the best Colonial domestic architecture in America is to be found in this vicinity, a great deal of it still standing in virtually its pristine condition as enduring memorials of the most elegant period in Colonial life. Just as men have personality, so houses have individuality. And as the latter is but a reflection of the former, a study of the architecture of any neighborhood gives us a more intimate knowledge of contemporary life and manners, while the history of the homes of prominent personages is usually the history of the community. Such a study is the more interesting in the present instance, however, in that not merely local but national history was enacted within the Colonial residences and public buildings of old Philadelphia. Men prominent in historic incidents of Colonial times which profoundly affected the destiny of the country lived in Philadelphia. The fathers of the American nation were familiar figures on the streets of the city, and Philadelphians in their native city wrote their names large in American history.
Philadelphia was not settled until approximately half a century later than the other early centers of the North,—Plymouth, New York, Salem, Boston and Providence. Georgian architecture had completely won the approval of the English people, and so it was that few if any buildings showing Elizabethan and Jacobean influences were erected here as in New England. Although several other nationalities were from the first represented in the population, notably the Swedish, Dutch and German, the British were always in the majority, and while a few old houses, especially those with plastered walls, have a slightly Continental atmosphere, all are essentially Georgian or pure Colonial in design and detail.
To understand how this remarkable collection of Colonial architecture came into being, and to appreciate what it means to us, it is necessary briefly to review the early history of Philadelphia. Although some small trading posts had been established by the Swedes and Dutch in the lower valley of the Delaware River from 1623 onward, it was not until 1682 that Philadelphia was settled under a charter which William Penn obtained from Charles II the previous year, providing a place of refuge for Quakers who were suffering persecution in England under the "Clarendon Code." The site was chosen by Penn's commission, consisting of Nathaniel Allen, John Bezan and William Heage, assisted by Penn's cousin, Captain William Markham, as deputy governor, and Thomas Holme as surveyor-general. The Swedes had established a settlement at the mouth of the Schuylkill River not later than 1643, and the site selected by the commissioners was held by three brothers of the Swaenson family. They agreed, however, to take in exchange land in what is now known as the Northern Liberties, and in the summer of 1682, Holme laid out the city extending from the Delaware River on the east to the Schuylkill River on the west—a distance of about two miles—and from Vine Street on the north to Cedar, now South Street, on the south,—a distance of about one mile. Penn landed at New Castle on the Delaware, October 27, 1682, and probably came to his newly founded city soon afterward. A meeting of the Provincial Council was held March 10, 1683, and from that time Philadelphia was the capital of Pennsylvania until 1799, when Lancaster was chosen.
Not only did Penn obtain a grant of land possessed of rare and diversified natural beauty, extreme fertility, mineral wealth and richness of all kinds, but he showed great sagacity in encouraging ambitious men of education and affluence, and artisans of skill and taste in many lines, to colonize it. To these facts are due the quick prosperity which came to Philadelphia and which has made it to this day one of the foremost manufacturing centers in the United States. Textile, foundry and many other industries soon sprang up to supply the wants of these diligent people three thousand miles from the mother country and to provide a basis of trade with the rest of the world. Shipyards were established and a merchant marine built up which soon brought to Philadelphia a foreign and coastwise commerce second to none in the American colonies. Local merchants engaged in trade with Europe and the West Indies, and these profitable ventures soon brought great affluence and a high degree of culture. By the time of the Revolution Philadelphia had become the largest, richest, most extravagant and fashionable city of the American colonies. Society was gayer, more polished and distinguished than anywhere else this side of the Atlantic.
Among the skilled artisans attracted by the promise of Penn's "Sylvania" were numerous carpenters and builders. Penn induced James Portius to come to the new world to design and execute his proprietary buildings, and Portius was accompanied and followed by others of more or less skill in the same and allied trades. While some of the building materials and parts of the finished woodwork were for a time brought from England, local skill and resources were soon equal to the demands, as much of their handiwork still existing amply shows. As early as 1724 the master carpenters of the city organized the Carpenters' Company, a guild patterned after the Worshipful Company of Carpenters of London, founded in 1477. Portius was one of the leading members, and on his death in 1736 laid the foundation of a valuable builders' library by giving his rare collection of early architectural books to the company.
Toward the middle of the eighteenth century American carpenters and builders everywhere, Philadelphia included, were materially aided by the appearance of handy little ready reference books of directions for joinery containing measured drawings with excellent Georgian detail. Such publications became the fountainhead of Colonial design. They taught our local craftsmen the technique of building and the art of proportion; instilled in their minds an appreciation of classic motives and the desire to adapt the spirit of the Renaissance to their own needs and purposes. In those days some knowledge of architecture was considered essential to every gentleman's education, and with the aid of these builders' reference books many men in other professions throughout the country became amateur architects of no mean ability as a pastime. In and about Philadelphia their Georgian adaptations, often tempered to a degree by the Quaker preference for the simple and practical, contributed much to the charm and distinction of local architecture. To such amateur architects we owe Independence Hall, designed by Andrew Hamilton, speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and Christ Church, designed mainly by Doctor John Kearsley.
During the whole of the eighteenth century Philadelphia was the most important city commercially, politically and socially in the American colonies. For this there were several reasons. Owing to its liberal government and its policy of religious toleration, Philadelphia and the outlying districts gradually became a refuge for European immigrants of various persecuted sects. Nowhere else in America was such a heterogeneous mixture of races and religions to be found. There were Swedes, Dutch, English, Germans, Welsh, Irish and Scotch-Irish; Quakers, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Catholics, Reformed Lutherans, Mennonites, Dunkers, Schwenkfelders and Moravians. Until the Seven Years' War between France and England from 1756 to 1763 the Quakers dominated the Pennsylvania government, and Quaker influence remained strong in Philadelphia long after it had given way to that of the more belligerent Scotch-Irish, mostly Presbyterians, in the rest of Pennsylvania, until the failure of the Whiskey Insurrection in 1794. This Scotch-Irish ascendancy was due not only to their increasing numbers, but to the increasing general dissatisfaction with the Quaker failure to provide for the defense of the province. The Penns lost their governmental rights in 1776 and three years later had their territorial rights vested in the commonwealth.
Its central location among the American colonies, and the fact that it was the largest and most successful of the proprietary provinces, rendered Pennsylvania's attitude in the struggle with the mother country during the Revolution of vital importance. The British party was made strong by the loyalty of the large Church of England element, the policy of neutrality adopted by the Quakers, Dunkers and Mennonites, and the general satisfaction felt toward the free and liberal government of the province, which had been won gradually without such reverses as had embittered the people of Massachusetts and some of the other British provinces. The Whig party was successful, however, and Pennsylvania contributed very materially to the success of the War of Independence, by the important services of her statesmen, by her efficient troops and by the financial aid rendered by Robert Morris, founder of the Bank of North America, the oldest financial institution in the United States.
Meanwhile Philadelphia became the very center of the new republic in embryo. The first Continental Congress met in Carpenters' Hall on September 5, 1774; the second Continental Congress in the old State House, now known as Independence Hall, on May 10, 1775; and throughout the Revolution, except from September 26, 1777, to June 18, 1778, when it was occupied by the British, and the Congress met in Lancaster and York, Pennsylvania, and then in Princeton, New Jersey, Philadelphia was virtually the capital of the American colonies and socially the most brilliant city in the country.
In Philadelphia the second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which the whole Pennsylvania delegation except Franklin regarded as premature, but which was afterward well supported by the State. The national convention which framed the constitution of the United States sat in Philadelphia in 1787, and from 1790 to 1800, when the seat of government was moved to Washington, Philadelphia was the national capital. Here the first bank in the colonies, the Bank of North America, was opened in 1781, and here the first mint for the coinage of United States money was established in 1792. Here Benjamin Franklin and David Rittenhouse made their great contributions to science, and here on September 19, 1796, Washington delivered his farewell address to the people of the United States. Here lived Robert Morris, who managed the finances of the Revolution, Stephen Girard of the War of 1812 and Jay Cooke of the Civil War.
Not only in politics, but in art, science, the drama and most fields of progress Philadelphia took the lead in America for more than a century and a half after its founding. Here was established the first public school in 1689; the first paper mill in 1690; the first botanical garden in 1728; the first Masonic Lodge in 1730; the first subscription library in 1731; the first volunteer fire company in 1736; the first magazine published by Franklin in 1741; the first American philosophical society in 1743; the first religious magazine in 1746; the first medical school in 1751; the first fire insurance company in 1752; the first theater in 1759; the first school of anatomy in 1762; the first American dispensary in 1786; the first water works in 1799; the first zoological museum in 1802; the first American art school in 1805; the first academy of natural sciences in 1812; the first school for training teachers in 1818; the first American building and loan association in 1831; the first American numismatic society in 1858. From the Germantown Friends' Meeting, headed by Francis Daniel Pastorius, came in 1688 the first protest against slavery in this country. In Philadelphia was published the first American medical book in 1740; here was given the first Shakespearean performance in this country in 1749; the first lightning rod was erected here in 1752; from Philadelphia the first American Arctic expedition set forth in 1755; on the Schuylkill River in 1773 were made the first steamboat experiments; the earliest abolition society in the world was organized here in 1774; the first American piano was built here in 1775; here in 1789 the Protestant Episcopal Church was formally established in the United States; the first carriage in the world propelled by steam was built here in 1804; the oldest American playhouse now in existence was built here in 1808; the first American locomotive, "Ironsides", was built here in 1827; and the first daguerreotype of the human face was made here in 1839. The Bible and Testament, Shakespeare, Milton and Blackstone were printed for the first time in America in Philadelphia, and Thackeray's first book originally appeared here.
During the latter half of the eighteenth century Philadelphia became noted throughout the American colonies for its generous hospitality of every sort, and this trait was reflected in the domestic architecture of the period, which was usually designed with that object in view. For the brilliance of its social life there were several reasons. Above all, it was the character of an ever-increasing number of inhabitants asserting itself. Moreover, the tendency was aided by the fact that as the largest, most important and most central city in the colonies, it became the meeting place for delegates from all the colonies to discuss common problems, and therefore it was incumbent upon Philadelphians to entertain the visitors. And this they did with a lavish hand. From the visit of the Virginia Commissioners in 1744 until the seat of the United States Government was moved to Washington in 1790, every meeting of men prominent in political life was the occasion of much eating, drinking and conviviality in the best Philadelphia homes and also in the inns, where it was the custom of that day to entertain considerably. The old Red Lion Inn at North Second and Noble streets, a picturesque gambrel-roof structure of brick with a lean-to porch along the front, is an interesting survival of the inns and taverns of Colonial days, as was also the old Mermaid Inn in Mount Airy, until torn down not long ago. At such gatherings were represented the most brilliant minds this side of the Atlantic, and scintillating wit and humor enlivened the festive board, as contrasted with the bitter religious discussions which had characterized American gatherings in the preceding century when tolerance had not been so broad.
But the brilliancy of social life in Philadelphia was by no means confined to the entertainment of visitors. Despite its importance, Philadelphia was a relatively small place in those days. Everybody knew everybody else of consequence, and social exchanges were inevitable among people of wealth and culture, prominent in public life and successful in commerce, of whom there were a larger number than in any other American city. While there were two separate and distinct social sets, the staid and sober Quakers and the gay "World's People", they were ever being drawn more closely together. The early severity of the Quakers had been greatly tempered by the increasing worldly influences about them. They were among the richest inhabitants and prominent in the government, holding the majority in the House of Assembly. This brought them into constant association with and under the influence of men in public life elsewhere, demonstrating the fact that, like the "World's People", they dearly loved eating and drinking. One has but to peruse some of the old diaries of prominent Friends which are still in existence to see that they occasionally "gormandized to the verge of gluttony", and even got "decently drunk."
Toward the outbreak of the Revolution, life among most Quakers had ceased to be as strict and monotonous as many have supposed. There were fox hunting, horse racing, assembly dances, barbecues, cider frolics, turtle and other dinners, tea parties and punch drinking, both under private auspices and among the activities of such clubs as the Colony in Schuylkill and the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club, in which the First City Troop originated. At the time of monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings whole families of Friends often visited other families for several days at a time, a custom which became an important element in the social intercourse of the province.
Cock fighting and bull baiting were among the frequent pastimes of Philadelphians, although frowned upon by the strict Quaker element. The same was true of theatrical entertainments, which began in 1754 and continued occasionally thereafter. Following the first Shakespearean performance in America at Philadelphia in 1749, a storehouse on Water Street near Pine Street, belonging to William Plumstead, was fitted up as a theater, and in April, 1754, the drama was really introduced to Philadelphia by a series of plays given by William Hallam's old American Company. In 1759 the first theater in Philadelphia purposely erected for the exhibition of plays was built at the southwest corner of Vernon and South (then Cedar) streets, and was opened by David Douglass, the manager of the company started by Hallam. A few years later, in 1766, was built the old Southwark or South Street Theater in South Street above Fourth, where Major John Andre and Captain John Peter De Lancy acted during the British occupation of the city, and which after twenty years of illegal existence was opened "by authority" in 1789. None of these now remains, but the Walnut Street Theater, erected in 1808, is said to be the oldest playhouse in the United States.
Taking all these facts into consideration, it is not surprising that, except for some of the earliest houses now remaining and others built with less ample fortunes, little difference is distinguishable between the homes of Quakers and "World's People", and that the distinctive characteristics of the Colonial architecture of Philadelphia are more or less common to all buildings of the period.
Shortly after the Revolution the built-up portion of the city was bounded by the Delaware River on the east and Seventh Street on the west, and by Poplar Street on the north and Christian Street on the south. While houses in blocks were the rule, numerous unoccupied lots made many trees and gardens in the rear and at the sides of detached houses quite common. This was regarded as not entirely sufficient by the wealthier families, which considered country living essential to health, comfort and pleasure, and so maintained two establishments,—a town house for winter occupancy and a countryseat as a summer retreat. Others desiring to live more nearly in the manner of their English forbears in the mother country chose to make an elaborate countryseat their year-round place of residence. Thus the surrounding countryside—but especially to the northwestward along the high, wooded banks of the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek—became a community of great estates with elegant country houses which have no parallel in America other than the manorial estates along the James River in Virginia. The Philadelphia of to-day, therefore, has not only a distinctive architecture in its brick, stone and woodwork, but a diversified architecture embracing both the city and country types of design and construction.
GEORGIAN COUNTRY HOUSES OF BRICK
Throughout the Colonial period, and to a degree during the early years of the American nation, Philadelphia clung to the manners and customs of the mother country as did few other communities in the new world. In architecture, therefore, it is not surprising to find the oldest houses and public buildings of the American metropolis of those days reflecting the tendencies of the times across the water. Wood had already ceased to be a cheap building material in England, and although it was abundantly available in America, brick and stone were thought necessary for the better homes, despite the fact that for some years, until sources of clay and limestone were found, bricks and lime for making mortar had to be brought at great expense from overseas. So we find that in 1683, the year following the founding of the "City of Brotherly Love", William Penn erected for his daughter Letitia the first brick house in the town, which was for several years occupied by Penn and his family. It was located in Letitia Court, a small street running from Market to Chestnut streets between Front and Second streets. Although of little architectural value, it was of great historic interest, and when in 1883 the encroachments of the wholesale district threatened to destroy it, the house was removed to Fairmount Park by the city and rebuilt on Lansdowne Drive west of the Girard Avenue bridge. It is open to the public and contains numerous Penn relics.
Thus from the very outset brick construction has been favored in preference to wood in Philadelphia. Homes in the city proper were built of it chiefly, and likewise many of the elegant countryseats in the neighboring townships, now part of the greater Philadelphia of to-day. The wealthier residents very early set the fashion of both city and country living, following in this custom the example of William Penn, the founder, who not only had his house in town, but a country place, a veritable mansion, long since gone, on an island in the Delaware River above Bristol.
British builders had forsaken the Jacobean manner of the early Renaissance and come completely under the spell of the English Classic or so-called Georgian style. Correspondingly, American men of means were erecting country houses of brick, with ornamental trim classic in detail, and of marble and white-painted wood. Marked by solidity, spaciousness and quiet dignity, they are thoroughly Georgian in conception, and as such reminiscent of the manorial seats of Virginia, yet less stately and in various respects peculiar to this section of the colonies. Like the bricks, the elaborate interior woodwork was at first brought from overseas, but later produced by resident artisans of whom there was an ever increasing number of no mean order.
Almost without exception the Colonial brickwork of Philadelphia was laid up with wide mortar joints in Flemish bond, red stretcher and black header bricks alternating in the same course. The arrangement not only imparts a delightful warmth and pleasing texture, but the headers provide frequent transverse ties, giving great strength to the wall. With this rich background the enlivening contrast of marble lintels and sills and white-painted wood trim, in which paneled shutters play a prominent part, form a picture of rare charm, rendered all the more satisfying by an appearance of obvious comfort, permanence and intrinsic worth which wood construction, however good, cannot convey.
Many of the splendid old pre-Revolutionary country houses of brick no longer remain to us. Some are gone altogether; others are remodeled almost beyond recognition; a few, hedged around by the growing city, have been allowed to fall into a state of hopeless decay. Woodford, however, located in the Northern Liberties, Fairmount Park, at York and Thirty-third streets, is fairly representative of the type of Georgian countryseat of brick, so many of which were erected in the suburbs of Philadelphia about the middle of the eighteenth century.
It is a large square structure, two and a half stories in height, with a hipped roof rising above a handsome cornice with prominent modillions and surmounted by a balustraded belvedere. Two large chimneys, much nearer together than is ordinarily the case, emerge within the inclosed area of the belvedere deck. A heavy pediment springs from the cornice above the pedimental doorway, and this repetition of the motive imparts a pleasing interest and emphasis to the facade. The subordinate cornice at the second-floor level is most unusual and may perhaps reflect the influence of the penthouse roof which became such a characteristic feature of the ledge stone work of the neighborhood. Few houses have the brick pilaster treatment at the corners with corresponding cornice projections which enrich the ornamental trim. Six broad soapstone steps with a simple wrought-iron handrail at either side lead up to a fine doorway, Tuscan in spirit, with high narrow doors. Above, a beautiful Palladian window is one of the best features of the facade. An interesting fenestration scheme, with paneled shutters at the lower windows only, is enhanced by the pleasing scale of twelve-paned upper and lower window sashes having broad white muntins throughout.
Opening the front door, one finds himself in a wide hall with doorways giving entrance to large front rooms on each side. Beyond, a beautifully detailed arch supported by pilasters spans the hall. The stairway is located near the center of the house in a hall to one side of the main hall and reached from it through a side door. Interior woodwork of good design and workmanship everywhere greets the eye, especially noticeable features being the rounding cornices, heavy wainscots and the floors an inch and a half in thickness and doweled together. Each room has a fireplace with ornamental iron back, a hearth of square bricks and a well-designed wood mantel. In the south front room blue tiles depicting Elizabethan knights and their ladies surround the fireplace opening. Brass handles instead of door knobs lend distinction to the hardware.
Woodford was erected in 1766 by William Coleman, a successful merchant, eminent jurist and a friend of Franklin. He was a member of the Common Council in 1739, justice of the peace and judge of the county courts in 1751 and judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from 1759 until his death ten years later.
Coleman's executors sold the place to Alexander Barclay, comptroller of His Majesty's Customs at Philadelphia, and the grandson of Robert Barclay of Ury, the noted Quaker theologian and "Apologist."
On Barclay's death in 1771, Woodford became the home of David Franks, a wealthy Jewish merchant and one of the signers of the Non-Importation Resolutions of 1765 by which a large body of leading American merchants agreed "not to have any goods shipped from Great Britain until after the repeal of the Stamp Act." He was prominent both socially and politically, a member of the Provincial Assembly in 1748 and the register of wills. Prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, he was the agent of the Crown in Philadelphia and was then made commissary of the British prisoners in the American lines. In 1778, however, he was arrested by General Benedict Arnold for attempting to transmit a letter harmful to the American cause, deprived of his commission and property, and obliged to remove to New York two years later.
One of Franks' daughters, Abigail, married Andrew Hamilton of The Woodlands, afterwards attorney-general of Pennsylvania. Another daughter, Rebecca, married General Sir Henry Johnson, who was defeated and captured by General Anthony Wayne at Stony Point. Rebecca Franks was one of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her day. Well educated, a gifted writer and fascinating conversationalist, witty and winsome, she was popular in society and one of the belles of the celebrated "Mischianza", which was given May 18, 1778, by the British officers in honor of General Lord Howe upon his departure for England. This was a feast of gayety with a tournament somewhat like those common in the age of chivalry, and was planned largely by Major John Andre, who was later hanged by order of an American military commission for his connection with the treason of General Benedict Arnold.
Following the confiscation of Franks' property in 1780, Woodford was sold to Thomas Paschall, a friend of Franklin. Later it was occupied for a time by William Lewis, a noted advocate, and in 1793 was bought by Isaac Wharton, son of Joseph Wharton, owner of Walnut Grove in Southwark at about Fifth Street and Walnut Avenue, where the "Mischianza" was held. A son, Francis Rawle Wharton, inherited the place on his father's death in 1798 and was the last private owner. In 1868 the estate was made part of Fairmount Park, and since 1887 it has been used as a guardhouse.
A country house typical of the time, though unlike most other contemporary buildings in the details of its construction, is Hope Lodge in Whitemarsh Valley on the Bethlehem Pike just north of its junction with the Skippack Pike. It is thoroughly Georgian in conception, and most of the materials, including all of the wood finish, were brought from England. The place reached a deplorable state of decay several years ago, yet the accompanying photograph shows enough remaining to be of considerable architectural interest.
It is a large, square house two and a half stories high, its hipped roof broken by handsome pedimental dormers with round-topped windows. The front is of brick laid up in characteristic Flemish bond, while the other walls are of plastered rubble stone masonry, the brickwork and stonework being quoined together at the front corners. A broad plaster coving is the principal feature of the simple molded cornice, and one notes the much used double belt formed by two projecting courses of brick at the second-floor level. The fenestration differs in several respects from that of similar houses erected a quarter century later. The arrangement of the ranging windows is quite conventional, but instead of marble lintels above them there are nicely gauged flat brick arches, while the basement windows are set in openings beneath segmental relieving arches with brick cores. The latter are reflected in effect by the recessed elliptical arches above all the windows in the walls of plastered rubble masonry. The windows themselves, with nine-paned upper and lower sashes having unusually heavy muntins, likewise the shutters on the lower story and the heavy paneled doors, are higher and narrower than was the rule a few years later. The entrance, with its characteristic double doors, is reached by a porch and four stone steps, its low hip roof with molded cornice being supported by two curious, square, tapering columns. Porches were an unusual circumstance in the neighborhood, and this one is so unlike any others of Colonial times which are worthy of note as to suggest its having been a subsequent addition. Above, a round-arched recess with projecting brick sill replaces the conventional Palladian window.
Indoors, an exceptionally wide hall extends entirely through the house from front to back, opening into spacious rooms on both sides through round-topped doorways with narrow double doors heavily paneled. An elliptical arch supported by fluted pilasters spans the hall about midway of its length, and a handsome staircase ascends laterally from the rear part after the common English manner of that day. Throughout the house the woodwork is of good design and execution, the paneled wainscots, molded cornices, door and window casings all being very heavy, and the broad fireplaces and massive chimney pieces in complete accord. Deep paneled window seats, very common in contemporary houses, are a feature of the first-floor rooms. The kitchens and the servants' quarters are located in a separate building to the rear, a brick-paved porch connecting the two. This custom, as in the South, was characteristic of the locality and period.
Hope Lodge was erected in 1723 by Samuel Morris, a Quaker of Welsh descent, who was a justice of the peace in Whitemarsh and an overseer of Plymouth Meeting. Morris built it expecting to marry a young Englishwoman to whom he had become affianced while on a visit to England with his mother, Susanna Heath, who was a prominent minister among the Friends. The wedding did not occur, however, and Samuel Morris died a bachelor in 1772, leaving his estate to his brother Joshua, who sold Hope Lodge in 1776 to William West. In 1784 West's executors conveyed it to the life interest of Colonel James Horatio Watmough with a reversion to his guardian, Henry Hope, a banker. It was Colonel Watmough who named the place Hope Lodge as a compliment to his guardian. One of his daughters married Joseph Reed, son of General Joseph Reed, and another married John Sargent, the famous lawyer. Both the Reeds and Sargents occupied Hope Lodge at various times, and it eventually passed into the Wentz family.
No other Colonial country house of brick that now remains holds an interest, either architectural or historic, quite equal to that of Stenton, which stands among fine old oaks, pines and hemlocks in a six-acre park, all that now remains of an estate of five hundred acres located on Germantown Avenue on the outskirts of Germantown near the Wayne Junction railroad station. One of the earliest and most pretentious countryseats of the neighborhood, it combines heavy construction and substantial appearance with a picturesque charm that is rare in buildings of such early origin. This is due in part to the brightening effect of the fenestration, with many small-paned windows set in white-painted molded frames, and quite as much to the slender trellises between the lower-story windows supporting vines which have spread over the brickwork above in the most fascinating manner. Both features impart a lighter sense of scale, while the profusion of white wood trim emphasizes more noticeably the delightful color and texture of the brickwork.
The house is a great, square, hip-roofed structure two and a half stories high with two large square chimneys and severely plain pedimental dormers. Servants' quarters, kitchens and greenhouses are located in a separate gable-roof structure a story and a half high, extending back more than a hundred feet from the main house, and connected with it by a covered porch along the back. In the kitchen the brick oven, the copper boiler and the fireplace with its crane still remain.
The walls of the house consist of characteristic brickwork of red stretchers and black headers laid up in Flemish bond, with square piers at the front corners and on each side of the entrance, and there is the more or less customary projecting belt at the second-floor level. On the second story the windows are set close up under the heavy overhanging cornice, with its prominent modillions, while on the lower story there are relieving arches with cores of brick instead of stone lintels so common on houses a few decades later. There are similar arches over the barred basement windows set in brick-lined areaways. Interesting indeed is the scheme of fenestration. Although formal and symmetrical on the front, the windows piercing the other walls frankly correspond to the interior floor plan, although ranging for the most part. Unlike the usual arrangement, there are two widely spaced windows above the entrance, while the narrow flanking windows either side of the doorway may be regarded as one of the earliest instances of side lights in American architecture. The severely simple entrance with its high narrow paneled doors without either knob or latch is reached from a brick-paved walk about the house by three semicircular stone steps such as were common in England at the time, the various nicely hewn pieces fastened securely together with iron bands.
The front door opens into a large square hall with a brick-paved floor and walls wainscoted to the ceiling with white-painted wood paneling. There is a fireplace on the right, and beyond an archway in the rear a staircase ascends to the second floor. To the right of the hall is the parlor, also with paneled walls, and a fireplace surrounded by pink tiles. In the wainscoted room back of this the sliding top of a closet offers opportunity for a person to conceal himself and listen through a small hole to the conversation in the adjoining hall. To the left of the hall is the dining room, beautifully wainscoted and having a built-in cupboard for china and a fireplace faced with blue tiles. The iron fireback bears the inscription "J. L. 1728." Back of this through a passageway is a small breakfast room, whence an underground passage for use during storms or sieges leads from a trap door in the floor to the barns.
The second-story floor plan is most unusual. The library, a great long room, extends entirely across the front of the house, with its range of six windows and two fireplaces on the opposite wall, one faced with blue tiles and the other with white. Here, with the finest private collection of books in America at that time, the scholarly owner spent his declining years, the library going to the city of Philadelphia on his death. Two small bedrooms, each with a fireplace, were occupied by his daughters. A little back staircase leads to the third floor, where the woodwork of the chambers was unpainted.
Stenton was erected in 1728 by James Logan, a scholar, philosopher, man of affairs, the secretary and later the personal representative of William Penn, the founder, and afterwards chief justice of the colony. Descended from a noble Scottish family, his father a clergyman and teacher who joined the Society of Friends in 1761, James Logan himself was for a time a teacher in London, but soon engaged in the shipping trade. In 1699 he came to America with William Penn as his secretary, and on Penn's return to England he was left in charge of the province. Thereafter Logan became a very important personage, much liked and fully trusted by all who knew him, including the Indians, with whom he maintained friendly relations. For half a century he was a mighty factor in provincial affairs, and to read his life is to read the history of Pennsylvania for that period, for he was chief justice, provincial secretary, commissioner of property, surveyor-general and president of the council. His ample fortune, amassed in commerce with Edward Shippen, in trade with the Indians, and by the purchase and sale of lands, enabled him to live and entertain at Stenton in a princely manner many distinguished American and European personages of that day.
When Logan died in 1751, he was succeeded by his son William, who continued faithful to the proprietary interests and carried on the Indian work. His son, Doctor George Logan, was the next proprietor during the Revolutionary period. Educated in England and Scotland, he traveled extensively in Europe; after his return to America he became a member of the Agricultural and Philosophical Societies and was elected a senator from Pennsylvania from 1801 to 1807.
During Doctor Logan's occupancy Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and many other distinguished American and European personages were entertained at Stenton. It was Washington's headquarters on August 23, 1777, while he was on his way to the Brandywine from Hartsville. Ten years later, on July 8, 1787, he came again as President of the Constitutional Convention, then sitting in Philadelphia, to see a demonstration of land plaster on grass land that had been made by Doctor Logan.
Sir William Howe occupied Stenton as his headquarters during the battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777, and on November 22 ordered it destroyed, along with the homes of other "obnoxious persons." The story of its narrow escape is interesting. Two dragoons came to fire it. Meeting a negro woman on their way to the barn for straw, they told her she might remove the bedding and clothing. Meanwhile a British officer and several men happened along, inquiring for deserters, whereupon the negro servant with ready wit said that two were hiding in the barn. Despite their protests, the men were carried away and the house was saved, as the order to fire it was not repeated.
After Doctor Logan's death in 1821, Stenton was occupied by his widow, Deborah Logan, until her death in 1839, when it passed to her son Albanus, an agriculturalist and sportsman. His son Gustavus was the last private owner, as the house was acquired by the city and occupied as their headquarters by the Colonial Dames, the descendants of the Logan family removing to Loudoun near by.
No account of the Colonial houses of Philadelphia would be reasonably complete which failed to include the home of Stephen Girard. Although of scant architectural distinction, it is of interest through its association with one of the chief outstanding figures of a city noted for its celebrated residents. It is a two-story hip-roofed structure, rather narrow but of exceptional length, taking the form of two plaster-walled wings on opposite sides of a central portion of brick having a pediment springing from the main cornice and a circular, ornamental window. As at Hope Lodge a broad plaster coving is the principal feature of the simple cornice. The windows and chimneys differ in various parts of the house, and the doors are strangely located, all suggesting alterations and additions. The central part of the house has casement sashes with blinds as contrasted with Georgian sashes with paneled shutters elsewhere, and all second-story windows are foreshortened.
Stephen Girard, a wealthy and eccentric Philadelphia merchant, financier, philanthropist and the founder of Girard College, was born near Bordeaux, France, in 1750, the son of a sea captain. He lost the sight of his right eye when eight years old and had only a meager education. Beginning a seafaring life as a cabin boy, he in time became master and part owner of a small vessel trading between New York, New Orleans and Port au Prince. In May, 1776, he was driven into the port of Philadelphia by a British fleet and settled there as a merchant. Gradually he built up a fleet of vessels trading with New Orleans and the West Indies, and by the close of the Revolution, Girard was one of the richest men of his time, and he used his wealth in numerous ways to benefit the nation and humanity. In 1810 he utilized about a million dollars deposited with the Barings of London to purchase shares of the much depreciated stock of the Bank of the United States, which materially assisted the government in bolstering European confidence in its securities. When the bank was not rechartered, Girard bought the building and cashier's house for a third of their original cost, and in May, 1812, established the Bank of Stephen Girard. In 1814, when the government needed money to bring the second conflict with England to a successful conclusion, he subscribed for about ninety-five per cent of the war loan of five million dollars, of which only twenty thousand dollars besides had been taken, and he generously offered to the public at par shares which, following his purchase, had gone to a premium.
Girard showed his public spirit personally as well as financially. During the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793 and in 1797-1798 he took the lead in relieving the poor and caring for the sick. He volunteered to act as manager of the hospital at Bush Hill and with the assistance of Peter Helm he cleansed the place and systemized the work.
On his death in 1831, Girard's estate, the greatest private fortune in America, was valued at about seven and a half million dollars, and his philanthropy was again shown in his disposition of it. Being without heirs, as his child had died soon after its birth and his beautiful wife had died after many years in an insane asylum, his heart went out to poor and orphan children. In his will he bequeathed $116,000 to various Philadelphia charities; $500,000 to the city for improvement of the Delaware River front, streets and buildings; $300,000 to Pennsylvania for internal improvements, especially canals, and the bulk of the estate to Philadelphia, chiefly for founding and maintaining a non-sectarian school or college, but also for providing a better police system, making municipal improvements and lessening taxation. The college was given for the support and education of poor white male orphans, of legitimate birth and character, between the ages of six and ten; and it was specified that no boy was to be permitted to stay after his eighteenth year, and that as regards admission, preference was to be shown, first to orphans born in Philadelphia, second to orphans born in any other part of Pennsylvania, third to orphans born in New York City, and fourth to orphans born in New Orleans.
Work upon the buildings was begun in 1833, and the college was opened with five buildings in 1848. The central one, an imposing structure in the Corinthian style of architecture designed by Thomas Ustick Walter, has been called "the most perfect Greek temple in existence." To it in 1851 were removed the remains of Stephen Girard and placed in a sarcophagus in the south vestibule. The college fund, originally $5,260,000, has grown to more than thirty-five million dollars; likewise the college has become virtually a village in itself. Some twenty handsome buildings and residences, valued at about three and a half million dollars, and more than forty acres of land accommodate about two thousand students, teachers and employes.
Under the provisions of the Girard trust fund nearly five hundred dwelling houses have been erected by the city in South Philadelphia, all heated and lighted by a central plant operated by the trustees, and more than seventy million tons of coal have been mined on property belonging to his estate. Few philanthropists have left their money so wisely or with such thoughtful provisions to meet changing conditions.
Perhaps the brick mansion most thoroughly representative of the type of Georgian country house, of which so many sprang up about Philadelphia from 1760 to 1770, is Port Royal House on Tacony Street between Church and Duncan streets in Frankford. This great square, hip-roofed structure with its quoined corners and projecting stone belt at the second-floor level; its surmounting belvedere, ornamental dormers and great chimney stacks; its central pediment springing from a heavy cornice above a projecting central portion of the facade in which are located a handsome Palladian window and characteristic Doric doorway; its large, ranging, twenty-four-paned windows with keyed stone lintels and blinds on the lower story, is in brick substantially what Mount Pleasant is in plastered stone, as will be seen in Chapter V. As in the latter, a broad central hall extends entirely through the house, and the staircase is located in a small side hall. The rooms throughout are large and contain excellent woodwork and chimney pieces.
Port Royal House was erected in 1762 by Edward Stiles, a wealthy merchant and shipowner, who like many others emigrated from Bermuda to the Bahama island of New Providence and thence to Philadelphia about the middle of the eighteenth century, to engage in American commerce. He was the great-grandson of John Stiles, one of the first settlers of Bermuda in 1635, and the son of Daniel Stiles, of Port Royal Parish, a vestryman and warden of Port Royal Church and a member of the Assembly of Bermuda in 1723. Commerce between the American colonies and Bermuda and the West Indies was extensive, and Stiles' business prospered. He had a store in Front Street between Market and Arch streets, and a town house in Walnut Street between Third and Fourth streets. In summer, like other men of his station and affluence, he lived at his countryseat, surrounded by many slaves, on an extensive plantation in Oxford township, near Frankford, that he had purchased from the Waln family. To it he gave the name Port Royal after his birthplace in Bermuda.
To Edward Stiles in 1775 befell the opportunity to carry relief to the people of Bermuda, then in dire distress because their supplies from America had been cut off by the Non-Importation Agreement among the American colonies. In response to their petition to the Continental Congress, permission was granted to send Stiles' ship, the Sea Nymph (Samuel Stobel, master), laden with provisions to be paid for by the people of Bermuda either in gold or arms, ammunition, saltpeter, sulphur and fieldpieces.
During the occupation of Philadelphia by the British in 1777 and 1778, Frankford became the middle ground between the opposing armies and subject to the depredations of both. Port Royal House, like many other estates of the vicinity, was robbed of its fine furniture, horses, slaves and provisions.
Under the will of Edward Stiles his slaves were freed and educated at the expense of his estate. In 1853 the Lukens family bought Port Royal House and for several years a boarding school was conducted there. As the manufacturing about Frankford grew, the locality lost its desirability as a place of residence. The house was abandoned to chance tenants and allowed to fall into an exceedingly delapidated condition. The accompanying photograph, however, depicts enough of its former state to indicate that in its day it was among the best brick country residences of the vicinity.
CITY RESIDENCES OF BRICK
As the city of Philadelphia grew and became more densely populated, land values increased greatly, and the custom developed of building brick residences in blocks fronting directly on the street, the party walls being located on the side property lines. Like the country houses already described, these were laid up in Flemish bond with alternating red stretcher and black header bricks, and thus an entire block presented a straight, continuous wall, broken only by a remarkably regular scheme of doorways and fenestration, and varied only by slight differences in the detail of doors and windows, lintels, cornices and dormers. These plain two-or three-story brick dwellings in long rows, in street after street, with white marble steps and trimmings, green or white shutters, each intended for one family, have been perpetuated through the intervening years, and now as then form the dominant feature of the domestic architecture of the city proper.
For the most part these were single-front houses, that is to say, the doorway was located to the right or left with two windows at one side, while on the stories above windows ranged with the doorway, making three windows across each story. There were exceptions, however, the so-called Morris house at Number 225 South Eighth Street being a notable example of a characteristic double-front house of the locality and period. They were gable-roof structures with high chimneys in the party walls, foreshortened, third-story windows and from one to three dormers piercing the roof.
At the end of the block the wall was often carried up above the ridge between a pair of chimneys and terminated in a horizontal line, imparting greater stability to the chimney construction and lending an air of distinction to the whole house, which was further enhanced by locating the entrance directly beneath in the end wall rather than in the side of the building. The famous old Wistar house at the southeast corner of Fourth and Locust streets is a case in point.
Pedimental dormers were the rule, sometimes with round-headed windows. Elaborate molded wood cornices were a feature, often with prominent, even hand-tooled modillions. Slightly projecting belts of brick courses, marble or other stone marked the floor levels, and keyed stone lintels were customary, although in some of the plainer houses the window frames were set between ordinary courses of brickwork, without decoration of any sort. Most of the windows had either six-or nine-paned upper and lower sashes with third-story windows foreshortened in various ways. There were paneled shutters at the first-story windows and often on the second story as well, although blinds were sometimes used on the second story and rarely on the third. The high, deeply recessed doorways, with engaged columns or fluted pilasters supporting handsome entablatures or pediments, and beautifully paneled doors, often with a semicircular fanlight above, were characteristic of most Philadelphia entrances. Before them, occupying part of the sidewalk, was a single broad stone step, or at times a stoop consisting of a flight of three or four steps with a simple wrought-iron handrail, sometimes on both sides, but often on only one side. Other common obstructions in the sidewalk were areaways at one or two basement windows and a rolling way with inclined double doors giving entrance from the street to the basement.
Many of these city residences were of almost palatial character, built by wealthy merchants and men in political life who thought it expedient to live near their wharves and countinghouses or within easy distance of the seats of city, provincial and later of national government. Beautiful gardens occupied the backyards of many such dwellings, affording veritable oases in a desert of bricks and mortar, yet many of the more affluent citizens maintained countryseats along the Schuylkill or elsewhere in addition to their town houses.
The location of many of these early city dwellings of brick was such that as the city grew they became undesirable as places of residence. Business encroached upon them more and more, so that, except for houses which have remained for generations in the same family or have historic interest sufficient to have brought about their preservation by the city, relatively few still remain in anything like their original condition. Of the quaint two-and three-story dwellings of modest though delightfully distinctive character, which once lined the narrow streets and alleys, most have become squalid tenements and small alien stores, or else have been utilized for commercial purposes. To walk through Combes Alley and Elfret Alley is to sense what once was and to realize the trend of the times, but there is much material for study in these rapidly decaying old sections that repay a visit by the architect and student.
Happily, however, one of these typical little streets is to be perpetuated in something like its pristine condition. Camac Street, "the street of little clubs", has become one of the unique features of the city,—a typically American "Latin Quarter." To enter this little, narrow, rough-paved alley, running south from Walnut Street between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets, is like stepping back a century or more. The squatty little two and a half story houses with picturesque doorways and dormer windows have become the homes of numerous clubs representing the best art interests of the city. Poor Richard Club, Plastic Club, Sketch Club, Coin d'Or and Franklin Inn are among the names to be seen painted on the signs beside the doors. The houses and their gardens in the rear have been restored and provide excellent club, exhibition and lecture rooms, at the same time preserving some fine examples of a rapidly passing type of early American architecture. Would that a similar course might be taken by local societies in every large American city where a wealth of Colonial architecture exists!
Among the fine old single-front houses of particular interest which have suffered through the encroachment of business upon the former residential sections of the city are the Blackwell house, Number 224 Pine Street, and the Wharton house, Number 336 Spruce Street.
The former was in many respects the most elegant residence in Philadelphia, built almost without regard to cost by a man of great wealth, whose taste and refinement called for luxurious living and a beautiful home. The interior woodwork surpassed in design and execution anything to be found elsewhere in the city. Many of the doorways had fluted pilasters, heavily molded casings and carved broken pediments. The doors were of mahogany as was likewise the wainscoting of the staircases. The sides of the rooms where fireplaces were located were completely paneled to the ceiling, and above the fireplace openings were narrow panels on which were hunting scenes done in mastic. Some years ago much of this beautiful woodwork was removed, and to-day, despoiled of its former architectural splendor, dingy and dilapidated, the shell of the building is used as a cigar factory.
The house was built about 1765 by John Stamper, a wealthy English merchant, who had been successively councilman, alderman and finally mayor of Philadelphia in 1759. He bought the whole south side of Pine Street from Second to Third from the Penns in 1761, and for many years the house was surrounded by a garden containing flowers, shrubs and fruit trees. Later the house passed into the hands of Stamper's son-in-law, William Bingham, Senior, and afterwards to Bingham's son-in-law, the Reverend Doctor Robert Blackwell.
Doctor Blackwell was the son of Colonel Jacob Blackwell, of New York, who owned extensive estates on Long Island along the East River, Blackwell's Island being included. After graduating from Princeton, Robert Blackwell studied first medicine and then theology. After several years of tutoring at Philipse Manor, he was ordained to the ministry and served the missions at Gloucester and St. Mary's, Colestown, New Jersey. When both congregations were scattered by the Revolution, he joined the Continental Army at Valley Forge as both chaplain and surgeon. In 1870 he married Hannah Bingham, whose considerable fortune, added to the estate of his father which he soon after inherited, made him the richest clergyman in America and one of the richest men in Philadelphia. The following year he was called to assist Doctor White, the rector of Christ Church and St. Peter's, and to the latter Doctor Blackwell chiefly devoted himself until his resignation in 1811 due to failing health. It was the services of these united parishes which Washington, his Cabinet and members of Congress attended frequently. On Doctor Blackwell's death in 1831 the house passed into the Willing family and has since changed owners many times.
The Wharton house, Number 336 Spruce Street, was built in 1796 by Samuel Pancoast, a house carpenter, who sold it to Mordecai Lewis, a prominent merchant in the East India trade, shipowner, importer and one-time partner of William Bingham, the brother-in-law of Doctor Blackwell, and whose palatial mansion in Third Street above Spruce was one of the most exclusive social centers of the city. Mordecai Lewis was a director of the Bank of North America, the Philadelphia Contributorship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire, the Philadelphia Library, and the treasurer of the Pennsylvania Hospital. Much of the currency issued by the Continental Congress of 1776 bore his name. Although a member of the volunteer military company, he was never in active service.
Following his death in 1799 the house was sold by his executors in 1809 to his son, Samuel N. Lewis, also a successful merchant of great public spirit. In 1817 the younger Lewis sold the house to Samuel Fisher, another merchant and prominent Friend noted for his hospitality and his charity, especially toward negroes and Indians. Because of his neutrality during the Revolution, he was exiled to Virginia from 1777 until 1779, when he was arrested because of a business letter to his partner in New York which was regarded as antagonistic to the government. He was committed to the "Old Gaol", and after refusing bail was tried and because of the clamor of the mob was sentenced to imprisonment for the duration of the war. Soon afterward, however, a pardon was offered him, which he refused, and two years later he left prison by invitation without terms, his health broken. His wedding gift to his daughter, Deborah, on her marriage to William Wharton in 1817, was the Spruce Street house, which has ever since borne Wharton's name.
William Wharton was the son of Charles Wharton, who, with his wife, Hannah, devoted themselves to a religious life among the Friends. Deborah Wharton, William Wharton's wife, became a prominent minister of the Society of Friends, traveling extensively in the interests of Indian welfare and giving generously of her ample means to various philanthropic causes. She was one of the early managers of Swarthmore College, as has been a descendant in each generation of the family since that time. Of her ten children, Joseph Wharton, also a prominent Friend, was owner of the Bethlehem Steel Works and one of the most successful ironmasters in the country. A liberal philanthropist, he founded the Wharton School of Finance and Economy at the University of Pennsylvania and was for many years president of the board of managers of Swarthmore College. On his mother's death in 1888 the Spruce Street house came into his possession and is still owned by his estate. Although rented as a rooming house, it remains in a fair state of preservation.
The Wistar house, at the southwest corner of Fourth and Locust streets, to which architectural reference has previously been made, was built about 1750 and for nearly three quarters of a century thereafter was the scene of constant hospitality and lavish entertainment. Here lived Doctor William Shippen, whose marriage to Alice, the daughter of Thomas Lee, of Virginia, and the sister of Richard Henry and Arthur Lee, was one of the numerous alliances which drew the county families of Virginia and Maryland into close relationship with Philadelphia families. Doctor Shippen's home quickly became the resort of the Virginia aristocracy when visiting the national capital, and in consequence there was a constant succession of balls and dinners during the winter season.
In 1799 the house was occupied by Doctor Caspar Wistar, the eminent anatomist, known to the elite of the city and nation for his brilliant social gatherings and as the man for whom that beautiful climbing plant, the Wistaria, was named. Doctor Wistar's geniality, magnetism, intellectual leadership and generous hospitality made his home a gathering place for the most distinguished personages of his day in the professions, arts, sciences, letters and politics. Since he held a chair at the University of Pennsylvania and carried on an extensive private practice, the demands upon his time were great, but Sunday evenings, and later on Saturday evenings, he was at home to his friends, who formed the habit of calling regularly in numbers from ten to fifty and often bringing new-found friends, sure of a hearty welcome, brilliant conversation and choice refreshments. And so began one of the cherished institutions of Philadelphia, the Wistar Parties, which were continued after the doctor's death in 1818 by Wistar's friends and their descendants. The Civil War brought an interruption, but in 1886 the gatherings were again resumed; few of the distinguished visitors to the city failed to be invited to attend, and, having attended, to praise most highly the exceptional hospitality shown them. During Doctor Wistar's lifetime the personnel of the parties gradually became substantially the membership of that world-famous scientific organization, the Philosophical Society, and later membership in that society became requisite to eligibility for the Wistar Parties.
By far the handsomest old city residence of brick that remains in anything like its original condition is the so-called Morris house at Number 225 South Eighth Street between Walnut and Spruce streets. Although not built until very shortly after the struggle for American independence had been won, it is pre-Revolutionary in character and Colonial in style throughout. In elegance and distinction the facade is unexcelled in early American city architecture. Unlike most houses of the time and locality, it has a double front with two windows each side of a central doorway, a range of five windows on the second and third floors and three simple dormers in the gable roof above. The windows have twelve-paned upper and lower sashes with paneled shutters on the first and second stories, and foreshortened eight-paned upper and lower sashes without shutters on the third story.
The brickwork is of characteristic Flemish bond with alternating red stretcher and black header bricks. Two slightly projecting courses, two courses apart, form horizontal belts at the second-and third-floor levels, while the first thirteen courses above the sidewalk level project somewhat beyond the wall above and are laid up in running bond, every sixth course being a tie course of headers. Beautifully tooled, light stone lintels with fine-scale radial scorings greatly enhance the beauty of the fenestration. Each lintel appears to consist of seven gauged or keyed pieces each, but is in reality a single stone, the effect being secured by deep scorings. A heavy molded cornice and handsome gutter spouts complete the decorative features apart from the chaste pedimental doorway with its fluted pilasters and dainty fanlight, which is mentioned again in another chapter. A rolling way and areaways at the basement windows pierce the wall at the sidewalk level after the manner of the time. Indoors, the hall extends entirely through the house to a door in the rear opening upon a box-bordered garden with rose trees and old-fashioned flowers. There is a parlor on the right of the hall and a library on the left. Back of the latter is the dining room, while the kitchen and service portion of the house are located in an L extension to the rear.
As indicated by two marble date stones set in the third-story front wall just below the cornice, this house was begun in 1786 and finished in 1787 by John Reynolds. Some years later it was purchased at a sheriff's sale by Ann Dunkin, who sold it in 1817 to Luke Wistar Morris, the son of Captain Samuel Morris. Since that time it has remained in the Morris family, and its occupants have maintained it in splendid condition. Much beautiful old furniture, silver and china adorn the interior, most of the pieces having individual histories of interest; in fact, the place has become a veritable museum of Morris and Wistar heirlooms. Within a few years the two old buildings that formerly adjoined the house to the right and left were removed so that the house now stands alone with a garden space at each side behind a handsome wrought-iron fence.
An enthusiastic horseman and sportsman, Samuel Morris was until his death in 1812 president of the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club in which originated in November, 1774, the Philadelphia Troop of Light Horse, better known as the City Troop, the oldest military organization in the United States. In 1775 Morris was a member of the Committee of Safety, and throughout the Revolution he served as captain of the City Troop and as a special agent for Washington, in whose esteem he stood high. Later he was a justice of the peace and a member of the Pennsylvania assembly from 1781 to 1783. A handsome china punch bowl presented to Captain Samuel Morris by the members of the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club is one of the most prized possessions in the Morris house.
Any book devoted to the Colonial houses of Philadelphia might perhaps be considered incomplete that failed to include the quaint little two and a half story building at Number 229 Arch Street, with its tiny store on the street floor and dwelling on the floors above. Devoid of all architectural pretension and showing the decay of passing years, it is nevertheless typical of the modest shop and house of its day, and it interests the visitor still more as the home of Betsy Ross, who for many years was popularly supposed to have made the first American flag. Betsy Ross was the widow of John Ross, a nephew of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who had conducted an upholsterer's business in the little shop. For a time after his death she supported herself as a lace cleaner and by continuing the business of her husband.
The romantic tradition goes, unsupported by official record, that, Congress having voted in June, 1777, for a flag of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, with thirteen white stars in a blue field, the committee in charge consulted with Washington, then in Philadelphia, concerning the matter. Knowing Mrs. Ross, Washington led the way to her house and explained their mission. In her little shop under their eyes she cut and stitched together cloths of the three colors we love so well and soon produced the first version of the Stars and Stripes.
The tale is a pretty one, and it is a pity that it should not be based on some good foundation, especially as the records show that subsequently Betsy Ross did make numerous flags for the government. How the story started is unknown, but none of the historians who have given the matter any attention believe it. John H. Flow in "The True Story of the American Flag" condemns it utterly, and the United States Government refused to adopt the Betsy Ross house as a national monument after a thorough investigation. Notwithstanding the facts, however, this ancient little building still continues to be a place of interest to many tourists every year.
LEDGE-STONE COUNTRY HOUSES
The use of natural building materials available on or near the site, when they are suitable or can be made so, always elicits hearty commendation; it gives local color and distinctive character. And so we look with particular admiration at the fine old countryseats of local rock-face and surfaced stone which abound in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, especially at Germantown, finding among them the most homelike and picturesque stone dwellings of the past and the best prototypes for present-day adaptation. Nowhere can one discover better inspiration for rock-face stonework, and nowhere have the architects of to-day more successfully preserved and developed the best local traditions of Colonial times.
Wherein lies the superlative picturesque appeal of the typical ledge stonework of Germantown? As distinguished from surfaced stonework, it possesses that flexibility in use so essential to the many and varied requirements of domestic architecture imposed by the personality and mode of living of the owner. In a measure this ready adaptability is due to the irregular lines and rock face of the stone itself, so pleasing in scale, color and texture, and so completely in harmony with the natural landscape. But to a far greater extent it is due to the fact that its predominant lines are horizontal, the line of repose and stability. Ledge stone, long and narrow, laid up in broken range, with the top and bottom beds approximately level, but with end joints as the stone works naturally, has an even more marked horizontal effect than brick, clap-boarded or shingled walls that tends to a surprising degree to simulate the impression of greater breadth of the entire mass.
Such matters as color, surface texture and the bond or pattern formed by the shape of the stones and their arrangement in the wall are the refinements of stonework; the essentials are strength and durability of the stone itself and stability of the wall. And this stability should be apparent as well as actual. The integrity of stonework depends upon its ability to stand alone, and nothing except high-cost surfaced stone is so readily conducive to handsome, honest masonry as the natural ledge stone of greater Philadelphia. A consistent wall should be of sound construction without the aid of mortar, the mission of which is to chink the joints and make the structure weather-tight.
Many different examples of stonework, both the pointed and unpointed, stand virtually side by side for comparison about Philadelphia. Several methods of pointing have been employed. There is the flush pointing and the ridge or weathered type commonly known as Colonial or "barn" pointing. Of them all, however, a method of laying and pointing generally referred to as the Germantown type has been most widely favored. It lends itself particularly well to the Colonial style of house now so popular, the broad lines of the white pointing bringing the gray stone into pleasing harmony with the white woodwork.
The pointing itself is much like the Colonial or "barn" pointing already referred to,—the wide open joints being filled with mortar brought well to the surface of the stones and smoothed off by the flat of the trowel with little regard to definiteness of line, after which about one-fourth of the width of the pointing is cut sharply away at the bottom so as to leave a sloping weathered edge considerably below the center of the joint. This is sometimes left as cut, in order to preserve a difference in texture, or is gone over with a trowel, either free hand or along a straightedge, to give a more finished appearance or more pronounced horizontal line effect.
Generally gray in effect, a ledge-stone wall provides a delightful neutral background against which trellises of roses, wistaria, honeysuckle and other flowering climbers delight the eye, and to which the spreading English ivy clings in the most charming intimacy. White-painted woodwork, however, furnishes its prime embellishment,—doors, windows, porches, dormers and such necessary appurtenances of comfortable living punctuating its various parts with high lights which brighten the effect, balance the form and mass and lend distinctive character. One has but to examine the accompanying illustrations of a few notable homes of the Colonial period to appreciate the undeniable charm of white-painted woodwork in a setting of ledge stone.
In the midst of virgin forest at the end of Livezey's Lane in Germantown on the banks of Wissahickon Creek, stands Glen Fern, more commonly known as the Livezey house, with numerous old buildings near by which in years past were mills, granaries and cooper shops. The house is of typically picturesque ledge-stone construction and interesting arrangement, consisting of three adjoining gable-roof structures in diminishing order, each with a single shed-roof dormer in its roof. It is located on a garden terrace with ledge-stone embankment wall and steps leading up to the door, which originally had seats at each side, while a balcony above was reached by the door in the second story. Two and a half stories high and having a chimney at each end, the main house attracts attention chiefly for its quaint fenestration, with two windows on one side of the door and one on the other, the foreshortened twelve-paned windows of the second story placed well up under the eaves, the first-story windows having six-paned upper and nine-paned lower sashes. As usual, there are shutters for the first-and blinds for the second-story windows.
A winding stairway leads upward from a rather small hall. White-paneled wainscots and fireplaces surrounded by dark marble adorn each of the principal rooms, while the great kitchen fireplace, in an inglenook with a window beside a seat large enough to accommodate several persons, was the "courtin' corner" of three generations of the Livezey family.
The old grist mill on Wissahickon Creek, originally a considerable stream, was built by Thomas Shoemaker, and in 1747 conveyed by him to Thomas Livezey, Junior, who operated it the rest of his life and lived at Glen Fern near by. The builder's father, Jacob Shoemaker, who gave the land upon which the Germantown Friends' Meeting House stands at Coulter and Main streets, came to this country with Pastorius in the ship America in 1682 and became sheriff of the town in 1690. Thomas Livezey, the progenitor of the Livezey family, and the great-grandfather of Thomas, Junior, came from England in 1680, and the records show that he served on the first grand jury of the first court held in the province, January 2, 1681.
Thomas Livezey, Junior, the miller, was a public-spirited and many-sided man. Something of a wag and given to writing letters in verse, his life also had its more serious side. Besides being one of the founders and a trustee of the Union Schoolhouse of Germantown, now Germantown Academy, he was a justice of the peace and a provincial commissioner in 1765. Being a Friend, he took no part in the struggle for independence, although his provocation was great.
For safety's sake the girls of the family, with the eatables and drinkables, were often locked up in the cellars during the occupancy of Germantown by the British. On one occasion British soldiers came to the house and demanded food, and being told by one of the women that after cooking all day she was too weary to prepare it, one of the soldiers struck off the woman's ear with his sword. An officer appeared presently, however, demanded to know who had done so dastardly a thing and instantly split the culprit's head with his saber.
Livezey cultivated a large farm on the adjoining hillsides, and a dozen bottles of wine from his vineyard, forwarded by his friend Robert Wharton, elicited praise from Benjamin Franklin.
Farmers brought their grain hither for miles around, and the mill prospered. Gradually a large West Indian trade was built up in flour contaminated with garlic and unmarketable in Philadelphia, the ships returning with silk, crepes and beautiful china, so that Livezey's son John became a prominent Philadelphia merchant. Another son, Thomas, continued to run the mill, which about the time of the Civil War was converted to the manufacture of linseed oil. In 1869 the entire property was purchased for Fairmount Park, and Glen Fern is now occupied by the Valley Green Canoe Club, which has restored it under the direction of John Livezey.
Opposite the famous Chew house on Germantown Avenue, amid a luxurious setting of splendid trees, clinging ivy and box-bordered gardens, stands Upsala, one of the finest examples of the Colonial architecture of Philadelphia. A great, square two and a half story house with a gable roof, three handsome dormers in front, a goodly sized chimney toward either end, and an L in the rear, it speaks eloquently of substantial comfort. Like many houses of the time and place, the facade is of faced stone carefully pointed, while the other walls are of exceptionally pleasing ledge stone, the two kinds of masonry being quoined together at the corners.
The pointing of the stonework is a very informal variation of the modern Germantown type,—flat-trowel pointed with little regard to definiteness of line. The wide joints are more appropriate in scale and taste than the ridge or weathered type, in that they harmonize better with the generally broad effect of the house and the white-painted wood trim of numerous windows and doors.
Keyed lintels and window sills of marble accentuate the fenestration, and the facade is further enriched by a handsome cornice and marble belt at the second-floor level. Four marble steps give approach to the high, pedimental porch before a door of delightful grace and dignity. As was often the case, there are white-painted shutters at the lower windows and green-painted blinds at the upper.
The gable ends of the house are interesting in their fenestration, with a fanlight of delightful pattern above and between two ordinary windows; one notices with interest that the returns of the eaves are carried entirely across the ends of the house from front to back, after the manner of the characteristic penthouse roof.
Within, a broad hall extends through the house, an archway at the foot of the winding staircase being its most striking feature. Two rooms on each side contain handsome mantels, paneled wainscots and other beautiful wood finish.
As indicated by the date stone in one of the gables, Upsala was begun in 1798 by John Johnson, Junior, who inherited the land from his grandfather, also named John Johnson, and was some three years in the building. It is located near the corner of Upsal Street on part of a tract of land that originally extended from Germantown Avenue, then Germantown Road, to the township line at Wissahickon Avenue. The house stands on the spot where the Fortieth Regiment of the British Army was encamped, and where later General Maxwell's cannon were planted to assail the Chew house at the Battle of Germantown. It has been successively occupied by Norton Johnson, Doctor William N. Johnson and Miss Sallie W. Johnson, all descendants of the builder.
Like Upsala, Grumblethorpe, at Number 526 Main Street, Germantown, opposite Indian Queen Lane, displays ledge-stone walls except for its facade, which is plastered, and it has the same returns of the eaves like a penthouse roof across the gables. This large two and a half story house stands directly on the sidewalk and has areaways at the sunken basement windows like many modern houses. A sturdy chimney at either end and two dormers with segmental topped windows are the features of the roof. The high recessed doorway, with its broad marble lower step in the brick sidewalk, is located so that there are three windows to the left and only two to the right. An interesting feature of the fenestration is the use of wide twelve-paned windows on the first story and of narrower and higher eighteen-paned windows on the second. Again there are shutters on the lower story and blinds above. This variation in the windows of different stories is by no means an uncommon feature of Philadelphia houses, and, as in this instance, often came about as the result of alterations.
Grumblethorpe was built in 1744 by John Wister, who came to Philadelphia from Germany in 1727 and developed a large business in cultivating blackberries, making and importing wine in Market Street west of Third. "Wister's Big House" was the first countryseat in Germantown. Originally it differed materially from its present outward appearance. There were no dormers, and the garret was lighted only at the ends. Across the front and sides of the house the second-floor level was marked by a penthouse roof, broken over the entrance by a balcony reached by a door from the second story. To the right of the entrance there were two windows, as at present; to the left there was a smaller door with a window at each side of it. Both doors were divided into upper and lower sections and had side-long seats outside. In the course of repairs and alterations in 1808 the penthouse roof and balcony, also the front seats, were removed, the upper and smaller lower doors were replaced by windows, and the front of the house was pebble dashed.