Calling a property “historic” hardly differentiates one home from another in Society Hill. Even a connection to William Penn isn’t all that unique. Start throwing some of the founders around, though, and you can claim some real Philadelphia bona fides.
A seven-bedroom manse between Walnut and Locust on Third Street satisfies all three requirements. The John Penn House was once the home of William Penn’s grandson. It later became the starter house for Pennsylvania Chief Justice Benjamin Chew (he also owned Cliveden in Germantown) and was the winter headquarters and home for General George Washington in 1781.
Which means when real estate agent John Portland’s client bought the home in 2001, there were some renovations and some acts of historical restoration in order.
“The cost of the restoration was $1,000,000,” Portland said via email. “The property had been neglected by the previous owner, and was left vacant for a number of years.”
Portland said his client was drawn to the property’s history as well as its condition.
“He was impressed by the original bones of the house, and was motivated to do a very sensitive restoration working hand in hand with his architect,” he said.
The ensuing restoration began in 2001 and lasted into 2002. The project included installation of new wiring, plumbing and HVAC along with a full central alarm system.
All 22 windows in the rear of the home were replaced with custom pieces. The front windows were precluded from full replacement given the home’s designation on the National Historic Register and the Philadelphia Register of Historic Homes.
At 24 feet in width over four stories, the home includes more than 6,500 square feet of living space. In addition to the seven bedrooms, the property includes four full baths, a powder room, eight fireplaces, and one grand ballroom.
After owning the home for over a decade and carefully restoring it, Portland said his client is ready to scale down to something slightly smaller and with fewer stairs.
“The owner loves the location in Society Hill and his neighbors,” Portland said. “[He] has enjoyed living in this grand dame for 15 years.”
The home is listed for $2,450,000 by Portland at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach.