Mysteries abound at this darling gingerbread home in uber-historic Tulpehocken Station. Among them: why was it named “Ladies in Waiting House?” And why did architect John Fallon build the home for Queen Maria Christina of Spain? Alas, Googling and close analysis of the tome-like listing do not reveal any answers.
The Victorian stunner was the second home built in the neighborhood, in conjunction with a home called the Queen’s House across the street (why was this not the home built for Maria Christina then? So many questions!). It exudes American Gothic charm with gingerbread and bargeboard trim as well as diamond-mullioned windows and stained glass.
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Address on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places? Check. Revered architect known for contributing iconic buildings to half of the Ivy League? Check. Gorgeous Renaissance Revival architecture featuring 10 bedrooms and more than 7,000 square feet of living space? Check. Walls, flooring, plumbing … well, sort of. Realtors do like to say it’s the bones of a place that really matter.
First, the history. The home was designed by local architect Frank Miles Day in 1892 for Harry K. Cummings, major grain and feed dealer of his day. Day is known throughout the design world for the work he produced from his eponymous architecture firm, which extended beyond residences to college and commercial architecture. He is beloved regionally for designing the Philadelphia Art Alliance as well as the dearly departed Art Club of Philadelphia. His contributions to Penn include Houston Hall, the Penn Museum, the second iteration of Franklin Field, the Fieldhouse and Ben Franklin’s pedestal at College Hall. He also designed buildings for Princeton, Yale and Cornell as well as Penn State and the University of Delaware. Day was a lecturer at Penn, Harvard and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. So: pretty solid credentials.
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