Good for you, Molly Phipps, of North Carolina’s Shelby Star. You may have chosen some of the expected — the Liberty Bell, Elfreth’s Alley, Ben Franklin, a cheesesteak — but you also chose a place that no one ever, never, ever puts on a list of things to do in Philadelphia, and especially in Old City:
“The fourth thing you can’t miss is a very special bookstore in Old City: Jules Goldman Books & Antiques on North 2nd Street. To say I love books would be a huge understatement, but this store had so much more. It had two floors, a whole section for art and a dusty room dedicated to old records. There was even a record set of the original airing of Orson Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds.’ If you’re a book lover, or just happen to be visiting Old City, I wouldn’t miss it.”
That is completely terrific. Here are some photos of what the store has…in store:
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It’s not too often that houses come up for sale or rent on Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously occupied residential street in the the nation. This three-bedroom 18th-century home is as enormous as Alley houses get, though its nickname is Half House because it’s so narrow. Prior owners apparently tired of the 18th-century footprint, as they built a two-story addition in 2007. The systems, thankfully, were modernized as well: The house has radiant, zoned heat and A/C.
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Each morning we start the day with Property’s Morning Obsession—anything from staging to woodwork to the fragment of a building. Want to submit your morning obsession? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generally speaking, when a home becomes available on the nation’s oldest continuously occupied residential street, it tends to be rather small–after all, think of how much more miniature people were back then. There’s no open space either, as the Alley’s homes are the ultimate primordial Philly rows. But today we’re obsessed and delighted by a listing for a house for sale on Elfreth’s Alley that has 6 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in 2,736 square feet. Not only that, but it has a yard, two staircases, 11 fireplaces (electricity was scarce in 1785), an attic and a basement. In other words, it’s a veritable mansion.
So what’s the catch? Well, the language of the listing gives it away: “Rare opportunity to restore a significant property on one of the most historic streets in the country!…Being sold in as is/where is condition.” That means it’s going to take a lot of work to get it into top condition, but if you’re handy with a hacksaw and have a hankering for history, it may be worth a half a million to own a piece of history.
116 Elfreths Aly, Philadelphia, PA 19106 [Zillow.com]