For Sale: Rittenhouse’s Infamous Thaw House at 17th and Spruce

The building was previously owned by Harry K. Thaw, who murdered architect Stanford White.

Walk by today and you’ll find a law firm at 1710 Spruce Street. A touch ironic, given one of its former residents was Harry K. Thaw, whose murder of architect Stanford White in 1906 led to the “Trial of the Century.”

Photo credit: Wikipedia user B

Photo credit: Wikimedia.

Thaw shot White — a New York architect, who designed some of that city’s most famous buildings — at a rooftop dinner theater at Madison Square Garden.


The building today. During one of the performances, Thaw approached White and shot him in the head, point-blank. The story goes that Thaw was paying White back for "ruining" his wife, actress Evelyn Nesbit, with whom White had a long affair prior to her marriage to Thaw.

The crime has had a long life in popular culture, most famously in E.L. Doctorow's book (and in the subsequent movie) Ragtime.

In addition, the Thaw family's summer home in Cresson, Pa., is said to be haunted by Evelyn's ghost.

Today, the 14,000-square-foot Thaw House today is for sale as a commercial property for $5.45 million. Its original staircase and wainscoting have been refurbished. It also has stained glass ceilings. A courtyard divides the main buildings from the attached two-story carriage house, which has a second entrance on Delancey Street.

For more fascinating history:

American Experience: Murder of the Century [PBS]

For more about buying the property:

Listing: 1710-12 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103