Just Listed: Bill Gray’s Former Home in Mount Airy

It’s been a decade since the man for whom 30th Street Station is now named lived in this rare bird of a center-hall Colonial — enough time to make it look like new.

house for sale mt airy colonial exterior front

Notice anything unusual about this center-hall Colonial Revival house at 602 Vernon Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19119? Like, say, its red-brick exterior? This Colonial, once home to Congressmember Bill Gray, marries the classic country-manor style with that most urban of building materials. / Photographs by Alcove Media via Compass

Center-hall Colonials are a dime a dozen hereabouts. Just about every upscale suburban neighborhood in this region, including those within the city, abound in this classic house type.

However, you might notice something unusual about this Mount Airy Colonial house for sale.

Most center-hall Colonials in and around Philadelphia are built of either stone or wood. And most brick Colonials hereabouts are townhouses.

This house merges city brick with country space and design. That makes this brick center-hall Colonial a rare bird. (It does manages to work a little stone in, though, thanks to the Wissahickon schist foundation on which it sits.)

Built in the mid-1920s, this house had been the residence of longtime U.S. Representative and former United Negro College Fund CEO William H. Gray III. Since his passing in 2013, his name has been attached to 30th Street Station, and his old home has gotten restored to pretty much the way it looked when built — but with updates where it counts.


Note how the original chestnut woodwork throughout the house sparkles. The abundant stained moldings, doorframes, doors, banisters, windows, and baseboards also make this Colonial stand out from the crowd.

house for sale mt. airy colonial living room

Living room

The first floor has a classic center-hall Colonial layout, with a living room spanning the length of the main floor. Of course, it has a handsome fireplace as its focal point. And like the dining room across the hall, it has an oak floor with walnut inlays. Those inlaid floors also make this house stand out from the crowd.

house for sale mt. airy colonial sunroom


French doors flanking the fireplace lead from the living room to this window-filled sunroom.

house for sale mt. airy colonial dining room

Dining room

And across the foyer, the dining room has a built-in china cabinet.

house for sale mt. airy colonial kitchen


The kitchen, behind the dining room, got a makeover that fits this house’s style. It turned what I imagine had been a typical eat-in kitchen into a kitchen/breakfast bar combo thanks to the peninsula inserted in its middle.

house for sale mt. airy colonial kitchen


The makeover also gave it a workstation and plenty of granite-topped counter space.


Bedroom (home office)

The second floor contains three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. One of the two bedrooms that share the hall bath currently functions as a home office.

primary bedroom

Primary bedroom

The primary bedroom takes up the entire length of one side of the floor.

primary bathroom

Primary bathroom

Its bathroom, like the hall bath, combines original tilework with updated fixtures. The pedestal sinks in both are updated versions of what this house originally contained — the originals would have had separate hot and cold water taps — while the shower in the primary bathroom and the cast-iron tub in the hall bath are new.

third-floor bathroom

Third-floor bathroom

So, for that matter, is the freestanding tub in the third-floor bathroom. The tilework, however, is original and features a unique decorative strip. Two more bedrooms flank the third-floor bath.

side patio

Side patio

Out back, you will find a fenced back and side yard planted with native trees and pollinators.  The side patio has a firepit and bluestone paving.



Meanwhile, there’s room to put a pool in the backyard.

This Mount Airy Colonial house for sale sits on a commanding, quarter-acre pentagonal lot right above where Vernon Road and Phil-Ellena Street join to pass under the SEPTA Regional Rail tracks at Stenton station on the Chestnut Hill East line. This means that you could:

  • Walk a few blocks to Germantown Avenue, which is lined with neighborhood shops and eateries all the way to its business district around Mount Airy and Mount Pleasant avenues. You can also walk to Mount Airy’s Grocery Outlet Bargain Market by turning left rather than right when you reach “The Ave.”
  • Hop the Regional Rail train down to Center City for work or pleasure. Or you could do the same thing headed to Chestnut Hill, in the opposite direction.
  • Explore the forests and fields for free at the nearby Awbury Arboretum, right next to the next station inbound from Stenton on the Chestnut Hill East line.

There’s even more you can do in the surrounding area, including hike the Wissahickon trails or shop at the big-box stores on Cheltenham Avenue a little ways further from here.

Put all this together and this rare brick center-hall Colonial that Bill Gray once called home is not only a standout but quite a find.



BATHS: 3 full, 1 half


SALE PRICE: $799,900

602 Vernon Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19119 [Tim Owen | Compass]