Neighborhood harmony by design

There’s a section in Philadelphia where you can see how one of America’s first suburbs achieved an incredible amount of architectural diversity while staying within equal sized lots. This is the Tulpehocken Station Historic District in Germantown in Northwest Philadelphia.

What you will find in the Tulpehocken Station Historic District is one of the best examples of landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing’s vision of Country Cottages, which blended together European-style estates within a countryside setting. But because this was America and not Europe there was one other idea at work here, egalitarianism.

The homes being built here all were of similar height with equal real estate but differ greatly in their look. Also, if you visit you’ll notice that the homes closest to Germantown Ave are smaller in size and as you move west towards Tulpehocken Station they become larger estates.

We asked “resident” historian Ed Feldman who used to live there to take us on a tour of his old neighborhood. Feldman, as you will see, actually knows a lot of about architecture. He has taught interior design and furniture-history courses most recently at Art Institute of Philadelphia. It’s a fascinating tour and we hope you will enjoy it.

Ed Feldman is probably best known as one of the Furniture Guys. Feldman and Joe L’Erario starred in a series of furniture DIY shows including Furniture to Go and Furniture on the Mend both initially shown on WHYY TV in the mid 1990’s.

 

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