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Researching the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park: Start Here

"Within Philadelphia's extensive Fairmount Park lands stand a group of 18th and early 19th century historic houses, established during the period by prominent families of the city as "country seats" or rural retreats...Philadelphia's gradual acquisition of a number of the historic houses, beginning with the city's initial purchase of Lemon Hill in 1844, resulted in the creation of Fairmount Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the country. The development of these great city lands has in turn led to the preservation of what is now considered to be the most significant group of 18th and early 19th century domestic architectural examples in the United States." - Guide to the Fairmount Park Houses

Full List of Fairmount Park Houses

Preserved historic houses

Cedar Grove 

Laurel Hill 

Lemon Hill 

Mount Pleasant 

Strawberry Mansion 

Woodford 

Other historic sites

Bellville Mansion

Belmont Mansion

Boelson Cottage

Chamounix Mansion

The Cliffs (ruins)

Hatfield House

Letitia Street House

The Lilacs 

Ohio House

Ormiston Mansion

Ridgeland Mansion

Rockland Mansion

Sedgely Porter House

The Solitude

Springettsbury Mansion

Sweetbriar Mansion

Historic Houses of Fairmount Park and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The museum administers two of the historic houses of Fairmount Park, Cedar Grove and Mount Pleasant.

Cedar Grove fast facts

  • Purchased by Elizabeth Coates Paschall in 1746 
  • Elizabeth's granddaughter Sarah and her husband, Isaac Wistar Morris, doubled the size of the house
  • The summer residence for five generations of the Coates, Paschall, and Morris families of Philadelphia
  • The house and its surviving original furnishings were presented as a gift to the city in 1926 by Lydia Thompson Morris
  • Originally located in the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia, and relocated to West Fairmount Park from 1926-1928

             Cedar Grove

Mount Pleasant fast facts

  • Established by the Scottish ship captain John Mcpherson and his wife Margaret from 1762-1765
  • Described by John Adams in 1775 as "the most elegant Seat in Pennsylvania"
  • The houses's architect Thomas Nevell was an apprentice of the builder of Independence Hall, Edmund Woolley 
  • Stands on its original site, which was once an estate of 100 acres including hay fields, pastures, orchards, and a large kitchen garden
  • Purchased by the city of Philadelphia in 1869 and restored by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1926

             Mount Pleasant

Contact the Library & Archives

Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday (excluding holidays)

Location: 2nd floor, Perelman Building 

Main Desk: (215)-684-7640

Email: library@philamuseum.org  

            archives@philamuseum.org

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