On the Market: Historic Washington Square West home designed by Frank Weise

This Washington Square West home, designed by Frank Weise, is on the market for $875,000. (Photo by Joe Alfano).

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

For Ruth Eldridge, her fairy tale wedding in Paris was only just the beginning.

Eldridge, a New York native, was living in France in the early 1990s and working as a political scientist. It was in Paris where she met and married her husband, De Witt.

But soon after, it was Philadelphia where the next chapter of their lives would unfold.

“We needed an anchor in the states,” Eldridge said. “My husband had taught in Philadelphia before, and we didn’t want to live full-time in Paris.”

The couple looked around in Philly where De Witt once lived, and they saw a flyer for a rental in Washington Square West that interested them.

They visited the row home, located on the 1200 block of Pine Street, which coincidentally was owned by one of De Witt’s friends at the time.

“We saw this and fell in love with it,” Eldridge said. “There were no questions from then on. We never looked at anything else.”

It wasn’t until they moved into the 1,750-square-foot home – first as a rental and then as a purchase a few months later in 1993 – that the couple learned of the home’s unique history.

Built in 1815, and included on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, the row home was re-designed by the late mid-century modern architect Frank Weise in 1961. Weise, who designed dozens of homes in the region, is known for his efforts to retain riverfront access for the city during the building of I-95. His other important projects include the restoration of Head House Square, the adaptation of Eastern State Penitentiary, and the establishment of the Theater of the Living Arts.

Eldridge said Weise renovated her home as well as the home next door.

Weise’s defining feature in this home is the spiral staircase, which extends from the first to the third floors. The staircase can be seen as soon as a visitor enters the home.

Next to the staircase in the living room, Weise added floor-to-ceiling windows that extend to the second floor, as well as a two-story brick fireplace. He opened up the ceiling in this room, and created a cathedral ceiling.

This design lets in much more natural light.

“This house is all about light and architecture,” Eldridge said.

To continue with the design, Eldridge and her husband renovated the kitchen in 2000, and removed a wall so that the light from the living room windows would reach the kitchen. They also updated the appliances and countertops.

“We just followed Weise’s idea,” Eldridge said. “We know that’s what he would have wanted.”

Throughout their time there, the couple made other improvements: they replaced the glass on the windows, renovated the roof, added in a powder room, and built a glass door leading to the courtyard.

The home has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths.

Eldridge, who’s husband passed away a few years ago, has decided to put the home on the market now for $875,000.

Although it is bittersweet, she feels as though it is time to leave, and had decided to return to Paris. She said she will be “thrilled” when someone walks in and loves the house as much as she did.

“This is a staircase that I adore; it’s my stair master,” she said, “but some day it’s going to be too much.”

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