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.
Victorian houses are a dime a dozen in Philadelphia. The trick is to find one that has been well maintained. We picked five of our favorites in Mt. Airy. Now, if we could only afford to heat a house this size.
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.”
This stone manor house in Montgomery County was built in 1787 on the Glanrason Plantation. The land was granted to John Thomas in the late 17th century, but he never made it to the colonies. His wife Katherin took it over with her four sons. Early white settlers in the area tried to form a Welsh-speaking county, but the idea didn’t quite take.
The Sedgwick Theater in Mt. Airy. Photo: Laura Kicey
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.