Mansions in Philadelphia – Hidden Gems in the City

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When many think of mansions in philadelphia the Besty Ross house and Edgar Allan Poe’s home come to mind. However, many historic homes in Philadelphia are not often visited. The following list explores these houses that are a hidden gem in the city.

A defining feature of the landscape of nineteenth-century Philadelphia was the rise of large suburban estates. These “mansions” defined architectural style, constructed social life and shaped commercial and political practice for several centuries. The construction of Pennsbury Manor (1644-1718) along the Delaware River north of Philadelphia provided the earliest effort to recreate English genteel living, and it inspired other well-to-do colonists to build houses in town and country settings.

From Historic to Opulent: Navigating the Extravagant World of Mansions in Philadelphia

The earliest suburban mansions were grouped closely with the urban center, such as the Palladian-style Mount Pleasant in West Philadelphia designed by Andrew Hamilton (1722-1810) or the large estate of Benjamin Chew near Germantown (1863-1867). As these suburban estates developed their own personalities they became a physical symbol of a larger version of history centered on wealth and power.

Today’s mansions serve a similar function for Philadelphia’s elites. For example, the luxurious Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park by Horace Trumbauer (1868-1938) was built for street-car magnate P.A.B. Widener (1902-1924) for a whopping price in 1921. The 110-room house is currently on the market for $17.5 million. In addition to its status as a historical landmark, the home serves as an important reminder of the region’s robber baron era of industry.


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