History all around… Philadelphia

Quite possibly the coolest house to look at in Philadelphia.

The Joshua Husband house sits at the corner of Delancey Place and 18th street in Center City Philadelphia in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.  It was originally built in 1857 by John McCrea and redesigned 10 years later by Fraser, Furness & Hewitt… as in Frank Furness the noted Philadelphia architect. My personal favorite feature is the mansard roof and how the house is just so different from everything on the block…and in this city.

The home is now also well known for Mister 1801, who looks out over 18th street and has his own facebook.


Hidden City Philadelphia has a great article all about the history of the home, and of Mister 1801


Hidden City Philadelphia is my favorite resource/website for finding out about the history of all sorts of different things in Philadelphia. I recently saw the guys who run the site give a talk about their book (you can buy it on Amazon) and I’ve been slowly making my way through all the sites they have featured so far. They expertly describe what about Philadelphia and its position enabled it keep so many historical layers to this day, while other cities have lost so much.

My favorite lines at the beginning of the book, “from Nathaniel Burt’s study of Philadelphia’s legacy upper class The Perennial Philadelphias (1963)……‘It was neither exciting like Manhattan, quant like Boston, nor picturesque and glamorous like the South and West. It was not even conspicuously awful like the Midwest. It was, in fact, like some forbidden Oriental city…surrounded by its own impenetrable wall.’….. For Philadelphia seems to possess an exceptionally large number of places that have disappeared elsewhere– workshops and small factories, sporting clubs and societies, synagogues and theaters and railroad lines- like endangered species that have managed to stay alive in some remote forest or swamp.”

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