Sprucing up the Fairmount Park houses

Nov. 30

For the next two weeks, folks interested in taking in the splendor of an age gone by can do just that in a holiday atmosphere thanks to the volunteer organizations whose members spent part of last weekend decorating the historic Fairmount Park Houses.

Check out the video of the work.

Take your pick of these architectural masterpieces that recreate the setting in which important eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Philadelphians lived. A brief description of each follows.

ORMISTON, 2000 Reservoir Dr. 19121. In 1798, Edward Burd built Ormiston in the Federal style, Ormiston became a celebrated farm boasting extensive orchards, the remnants of which can be seen today. (Ormiston is decorated by the Royal Heritage Society of the Delaware Valley).

LEMON HILL, Sedgeley & Lemon Hill Drives 19121. Lemon Hill mansion situated in East Fairmount Park, was built in 1800 as a summer retreat by Henry Pratt, a well-off Philadelphia merchant.  Lemon Hill is decorated by the Weeders Garden Club, Deck the Halls & The Garden Workers).

CEDAR GROVE, 1 Cedar Grove Dr. 19131. Built by Elizabeth Coates Paschall in 1748. The furniture is original to the family and the house. About 75 years ago Cedar Grove was moved in pieces from the Frankford section of Philadelphia to its current location. (Cedar Grove is decorated by the Fairmount Park House Guides).

MOUNT PLEASANT, 3800 Mount Pleasant Dr. 19121. John McPherson built the house and two outbuildings in the Georgian style. Benedict Arnold once owned the property which was also used as a city dairy. (Mount Pleasant is decorated by the Fairmount Park House Guides).

WOODFORD, 33rd & Dauphin Sts. 19132. In 1756-58 William Coleman, a Philadelphia merchant, built this recently restored Georgian-style house as a summer home. It contains period furniture and decorative arts, including Delftware. (Woodford is decorated by Clymer Elementary School & the Outdoor Gardeners).

LAUREL HILL, 7201 N. Randolph Dr. 19121. Built sometime around 1764, this two-story Georgian sits on a  promentory and has a dramatic view of the Schuylkill River. (Laurel Hill is decorated by the Women for Greater Philadelphia & Community Garden Club of Wayne).

SWEETBRIAR,1 Sweetbriar Dr. 19121. Constructed of local rubble-stone covered with stucco, a common building practice in the 18th century. The style, although Federal, has French and Georgian influences. In the day, the estate covered 20 acres. (Sweetbriar is decorated by The Modern Club of Philadelphia).

See map and brochure

Trolley tours of the houses will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4 through Sunday Dec. 6 and from Friday Dec. 11 through Sunday Dec. 13. Trolley tour admission in $25 per visitor for three houses. For reservations, call 215 389 8687

Self driven tours of the houses will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2 through Sunday Dec. 6 and from Wednesday Dec. 9 through Sunday Dec. 13. Self driven tour admission in $5 per visitor for each house ($3 for senior citizens). Please note that Ormiston will only be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

Contact the reporter at mgolas@design.upenn.edu

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