Four Years In, Philadelphia’s President’s House Still Dealing with Leaks

The site on Independence Mall attracted huge crowds during excavation, and still does. But the President's House has problems.

The Inquirer’s Stephan Salisbury reports today of the problems with the President’s House site on Independence Mall. The site at the southeast corner of 6th and Market was built to commemorate the original residence of the President of the United States — as well as the slaves Washington held there. The excavation at the site was an unexpectedly popular attraction.

And, apparently, it’s a mess! Most of the mess has to deal with leaks — in glass panels, in paving tiles, in a hatch door that the city repaired and still leaks. The city admits it did not construct an underground drain “but argued that it might not solve the problems anyway.” The project, which was developed jointly between the city and the National Park Service, was supposed to be turned over for maintenance to the park service after construction; that hasn’t happened.

The site also had problems with faulty video monitors — and the operating system that powers the new monitors crashes all the time. An independent contractor may have found the cause of the leaks (a leaky wall and a faulty service drain), but — again — who knows?

The Park Service has said it is considering covering the exposed foundation walls with sand to protect them from leaks.