Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Historic Walkabout in Fairmount Park

Sometimes even I get tired of my opinionated rants and just want to look at - or take - pretty pictures. Yesterday I decided to wander around Fairmount Park and explore its history. At the time I didn't realize that Fairmount Park manages at least 45 historic homes and I only scratched the surface.

After botched attempt to find the ruins of The Cliffs, an historic home lost to arson in 1986, landed me unknowingly in the middle of a wooded frolf course, I reluctantly abandoned my quest and headed north.

Most of the mansions can be enjoyed from Fairmount Park's Boxers' Trail, named for Philadelphia's legendary Joe Frazier.

Clunie (Mount Pleasant)
Built: 1761-1762
Architect: Thomas Nevell (Apprentice to Edmund Woolley, architect of Independence Hall)
Resident: John and Margaret Macpherson
Occupation: Privateer (Pirate)
Location: Mount Pleasant Drive
Status: Museum

Rockland Mansion
Built: c. 1910
Resident: George Thomson
Occupation: Merchant
Location: 3810 Mount Pleasant Drive
Status: Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia


Ormiston Mansion
Built: 1798
Resident: Major Edward Burd
Occupation: Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Location: 2000 Reservoir Drive

Woodford Mansion
Built: 1756, addition 1772
Resident: William Coleman
Occupation: Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Status: Naomi Wood Collection Museum

Historic Strawberry Mansion
Built: 1789
Resident: William Lewis
Occupation: Judge
Status: Museum

 Adjacent to Historic Strawberry Mansion are the ruins of the 19th Century Strawberry Mansion Music Pavilion, designed by Horace Trumbauer.
A sidewalk just north of the mansions takes you down stairs and through the woods. Across the street is an inconspicuous stone opening, taking you down more stairs and deeper into the woods, landing you at the recently rediscovered Frank Furness Gate on Kelly Drive.

Lemon Hill Mansion
Built: 1800-1801
Architect: Owner
Resident: Henry Pratt
Occupation: Merchant
Status: Museum

From Lemon Hill Mansion you will find one of the most astonishing views of the Philadelphia skyline.


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