On the Market: Henry Harrison house for $525,000

This Old City row home, built in 1760 by onetime Philadelphia mayor Henry Harrison, is on the market for $525,000.

On the Market profiles homes for sale in the Philadelphia region.

An Old City house, which onetime Philadelphia mayor Henry Harrison built in 1760 and lived in for a short period of time, has hit the market for $525,000.

The colonial row home at 116 Cuthbert Street is for sale by owner. The house was originally part of a trio of row homes, previously called Coombes Alley. Current owner Sarah Apelquist says she has been told that Harrison built the three homes for immigrant families.

“He initially wanted to create a rental place for sailors coming off the boat because the river was right there,” she said. “So he did that, and it became the place to live. Different families would live on each floor, and they would share the kitchen.”

The three houses eventually became single-family homes in the 1800s, but in the 1960s, their fate was tested. Apelquist says the trio of row homes was slated for demolition due to expansion plans for I-95, but one of her neighbors was able to help save them. She says her neighbor purchased the homes, and later on they were protected when they listed with the Philadelphia Historical Commission.

Since then, several families have lived in the three-story colonial and helped maintain it. Apelquist and her husband, Jayson, moved into the home in 2006, after moving here from Washington, D.C. so Jayson could take a job as a computer engineer.

The couple looked at more than 50 homes all over Philly, but Apelquist says this one – the final one they looked at – just “felt like home.”

“We just walked in and there was something about the feel of the house that really struck us,” she said. “Moving from D.C., we always had an interest in American history.”

Plus, she says, the home had not been upgraded for a while, so she and her husband saw an opportunity to add in some of their own touches.

They completely redid the kitchen in 2010, as it had not been updated much since the 1960s.

“We replaced everything: laid down hardwood flooring, added in granite countertops, and put in stainless steel appliances,” Apelquist said.

The couple also updated both bathrooms, installed crown moldings, repainted the interior, and added new carpeting.

Even with its modern amenities, the two-bedroom, two-bath home still has some original features including the floors on the third floor, the brick wall in the basement, wood ceiling beams, and built-in nooks and cupboards.

They weren’t able to do much to the exterior of the home due to Historical Commission restrictions, except for cleaning and refreshing the paint on the façade and shutters.

As for living in a historical home, Apelquist says she and her husband have appreciated the character of the property, and feel honored to have spent time there.

“We get to be a part of a living history every day,” she said. “How many people can say that they live in a house older than the United States? It is a great conversation piece."

After seven years of living in the Old City property, the couple – now with two young kids – has put the home on the market. They’re ready to move to a home in a different neighborhood, Apelquist says.

As their first experience living in Philly, the couple says they loved the neighborhood, with its close proximity to restaurants, galleries, historical attractions, and parks. She says she hopes the next family that moves in will enjoy the home as much as they did.

“We have lived in this area for almost eight years, and every time I come home, I still admire the beauty and setting of the street with the backdrop of the homes,” she said. “It’s somewhat hidden from the hustle and bustle of Old City, so unless you were exploring, you may never know this street existed.”

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