A blow to historical preservationists in the Northeast: the Stokes House at 2976 Welsh Road was demolished on January 5th. A 12-home twin house development is set to replace it.
According to William Kenny at the Northeast Times, the Millbrook Society’s history of the property shows the Federal-style stone farmhouse dated back to the 1800s, while the property itself has deeds that go as far back as 1747. Prior to that, it had been a plantation estate belonging to Thomas Holme, William Penn’s surveyor, who bequeathed it to his freed slaves after his death in 1695.
Efforts to save the structure were hindered, Kenny writes, due to its long-time owners, the Stokes family, never trying to get it historically designated. Saving the home was made even more difficult for the fact that, as Northeast historian Fred Moore put it, “no one famous lived there.” Kenney then reports that in 2010, after having given the home two significant renovations to speak of, Stokes Jr. “told the Holme Circle Civic Association that the home was again in disrepair and that restoration would not be cost-effective.”
Click here to see the video of the demoltion (and other headlines!)
If Theophilus P. Chandler were of this generation, he would be what we call “a game-changer.” Unfortunately, he died in 1928. But as founder and president of the American Institute of Architect’s Philadelphia chapter and founder and director of the University of Penn’s Department of Architecture, Chandler was a significant force who elevated the role of architecture in the city’s psyche during the late 1800s.
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Exterior of 116 Cuthbert Street, Philadelphia, PA
Built in 1760 by onetime Philadelphia mayor Henry Harrison, this Old City home was actually one of a trio of Harrison Houses on Cuthbert Street, then known as Coombes Alley. Sarah Apelquist, the home’s current owner, says merchant Harrison was also a local real estate developer. Harrison only briefly resided in the house, after which the property became a rental for newcomers just off the docks. The immigrant families lived in close quarters — every level of the house was occupied, with the kitchen as a common area.
In the early 1960s, the Harrison House at 116 almost met its end due to expansion plans for I-95, where there was talk of its being demolished along with several other homes in the area. Apelquist credits a neighbor and the Philadelphia Historical Commission for having played a key role in saving the home, which is on the city’s Register of Historic Places.
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