Designed by William Decker in 1893 for William James Swain, founder of the Public Record and son of William Moseley Swain, founder of the Public Ledger, the Romanesque Victorian mansion at 3925 Chestnut Street now serves as Philadelphia's Ronald McDonald House. The charity house which originally operated out of 40th and Spruce, found its way to the Swain mansion in 1981.
William Swain died in 1903 en route to his summer home in Spring Lake, NJ. In 1926 the stone house was sold. It was operated as the Andrew Bair Funeral Home until it was purchased by Philadelphia Eagles' Fred Hill, who donated the home to Ronald McDonald House charities.
Carved in stone and wood throughout the house, faces of Swain's family can be found, including himself atop the main gable, facing southwest.
The interior of the main house has been meticulously restored by the organization, preserving all original woodwork, built in furniture, and stained glass windows.
Ronald McDonald House charities accommodates the families of ill children receiving care at nearby hospitals. The Philadelphia location was the organization's first. Today there are 300 houses in 30 countries.
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