What Are Those Little Shields Above the Doorways of Philadelphia Homes?

If you’ve walked around Philadelphia’s older neighborhoods, you’ve probably seen the medallions affixed to the front of older houses. Some have four hands, clasping each other at the wrist. Some have a tree or a little wagon. These are fire insurance marks, used to identify the houses insured by each company.

Fire insurance in this country started in the 18th century. Because Philadelphia was so awesome back then, many of the most successful early attempts at fire insurance happened here, and each insurance company developed a very distinctive logo.

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New Homes in Mt. Airy Avoid That McMansion Vibe

When you live in an architectural wonderland like Northwest Philly, you can sometimes become a little resistant to the new and the different. We like our Wissahickon schist. We like our azaleas and our hostas lining the front walk. We don’t approve of houses that look like they belong in the suburbs.

Recently, I was driving down Lincoln Drive with a friend who grew up in Mt. Airy but now lives elsewhere.

“What’s THAT?” she said suddenly. “That’s just not okay.”

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Would-Be Mt. Airy Home Buyers Get Creative

If you follow real estate stories, you probably know that there’s a shortage of homes on for sale in many parts of the country. This doesn’t mean there aren’t unsold houses sitting on the market, but houses in the most popular areas may be virtually unavailable.

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