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Powel House, Philadelphia

Powel House is an historic mansion in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. This elegant Georgian brick mansion was built in 1765 by merchant and shipmaster Charles Stedman. When Stedman fell on financial difficulties (eventually winding up in debtors' prison), the house was purchased for £3,150 on August 2, 1769 by Samuel Powel, who served as the last mayor of Philadelphia under British rule and became the city's first mayor after the Revolution. He and his wife Elizabeth Willing were well known for their hospitality and frequently entertained such notable guests as George and Martha Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, and the Marquis de Lafayette.



During the early 20th century, the house served as a warehouse and office for a business that imported and exported Russian and Siberian horse hair and bristles. The owners had sold much of the interior architectural detail to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Little more than a shell, the building was slated for demolition, with the site planned to be used for a parking lot. After learning of the imminent demolition, Frances Wister formed The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks and raised sufficient funds to purchase the property in 1931. Over the next decade, Wister and the Society restored the house to its appearance during Powel's residency, interpreting the daily lives of wealthy Philadelphians at the time of the American Revolution.



Today, the rich history of the Powel House may be seen in its decorative arts collection, its portraits of Powels and Willings, and its formal, walled garden so typical of Colonial Philadelphia. Its beautiful entryway, ballroom with bas-relief plasterwork, and mahogany wainscoting give the house its reputation as perhaps America's finest existing Georgian Colonial townhouse.
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Powel House Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
22 reviews
Google
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TripAdvisor
  • I appreciate the house was saved - it almost wasn't. that said, there is not that much to see; basically 4 rooms and the center hall. The guide did a nice job but was a little flummoxed by questions t...  more »
  • If you're in the Society Hill area (near the Physick House), be sure to book a tour of the mid-Georgian 18th-century mansion, Powel House. We were guided through the estate by Meghan, who has an amazi...  more »
  • We received a great tour from Meagan, one of the directors at the house. She clearly knew about the house and the history of the residents, and how they interacted with our nation's history. You will ...  more »
Google
  • We held a retirement party for a colleague -- an American-history buff -- at Powel House at the end of June 2018. First of all, working with Meagan, site manager of Powel House, was a pleasure. She is a pro, and her advice was very helpful. She is also just plain nice to deal with. Second, everyone loved Powel House itself. We were all impressed with its historical significance, beauty, and elegance. To walk on the same floor (and floorboards!) as George Washington, John Adams, and others, was amazing! Thanks to decent weather, we were able to use the beautiful garden, too. I'd host another event at Powel in a heartbeat. Thanks, Meagan!
  • Tremendous history at Powell house. We had a brunch event for my friend's wedding here. Great decoration! She had games including: jenga, croquet, and others. Brunch with unlimited mimosas it was very lovely!
  • We recently had our wedding at the Powel House, and I couldn't recommend it more. The house and garden are beautiful, and all of our guests loved the location. Everyone from the Philadelphia Society of Landmarks that we worked with were great (especially Meagan). They were super easy to get in touch with, and worked great with all the vendors we selected.
  • The Powel House was incredible. The combined charm of the remarkable history with the beautiful site - home and gorgeous garden - it was perfect. It was a great spot for our donor reception!
  • Beautiful place to celebrate my best friend Gita's daughter Sarita and Connor's wedding! Had a fabulous time!
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59 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA January, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 8 days in Pennsylvania BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 1 day in Philadelphia BY A USER FROM CANADA May, fast-paced, popular sights PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Fast-paced 18 days in Philadelphia BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA December, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 20 days in Philadelphia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular sights PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in Philadelphia BY A USER FROM BERMUDA December, historic sites, shopping, slow & easy, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Slow & easy 10 days in Philadelphia BY A USER FROM INDIA January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 60 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA December, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 33 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA January, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 60 days in Pennsylvania & United Arab Emirates BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES October, popular sights PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 14 days in Philadelphia & The Countryside SEE PLAN June, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 12 days in Washington DC, Philadelphia & New York City BY A USER FROM CHINA January, culture, historic sites, slow & easy, popular sights PREFERENCES: January, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Slow & easy
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