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Powel House, Philadelphia

The Powel House is a historic house museum located at 244 South 3rd Street, between Willings Alley and Spruce Street, in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Built in 1765 in the Georgian style, and embellished by second owner Samuel Powel (1738 - 1793), it has been called "the finest Georgian row house in the city." As with other houses of this type, the exterior facade was, but the interior was elaborately appointed.
The elegant brick city house was built for Charles Stedman, a merchant and shipmaster. Before he had the chance to live in it, Stedman fell into financial trouble - eventually winding up in debtors' prison. The house was purchased for £3,150 on August 2, 1769 by Samuel Powel, who would become the last mayor of Philadelphia under British rule and the city's first mayor following independence. A Quaker who converted to Anglicanism, he supported the American Revolution and was dubbed the "Patriot Mayor."
The building is attributed to architect/builder Robert Smith. Powel and his wife Elizabeth (née Willing) lavishly redecorated, creating some of the most ornate interiors in the Colonies. The Rococo plastered ceilings are attributed to James Clow, and the architectural woodwork is attributed to carvers Hercules Courtnay and Martin Jugiez.
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Powel House Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
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4.7
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  • This house has lots of history. The Powels were real political players in their time, and good friends with George & Martha. Much of the interesting history was how the house was saved from demolition...  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 »
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  • We held our wedding reception at the Powel House last August. The dinner took place in the garden and the setting was absolutely gorgeous. Many of our Philly-based guests didn't know about the house and were excited to learn about it's historical significance. Renting the space itself is inexpensive but there is a hidden cost in that you have to rent the tables and a tent, and you must use their approved caterers. That said, we felt it was worth it. Thanks so much to Meagan and the rest of the staff for making it such a smooth event.
  • 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!

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