The term mansion in philadelphia is used to describe a very large house, often with five or more bedrooms. They’re typically found on expansive plots of land with room for gardens, pools, and tennis courts. They feature high-end materials like marble countertops and gilded fireplaces.
Philadelphia’s mansions served as town and country housing for the region’s leading families for centuries, helping to define architectural style, construct social life, and structure business and political practices. Pennsbury Manor, built by William Penn (1644-1718) on the Delaware River about twenty-five miles north of Philadelphia, is widely considered to be one of the first attempts to recreate English genteel living.
Philadelphia’s Pinnacle Residences: Unveiling the Charms of Mansion Living
After the Revolution, many wealthy colonists continued to build country houses in the surrounding countryside. They clustered along the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, where they could be close to Philadelphia for convenience but in a more rural setting that might be thought of as healthier and safer. This was the case with the mansions built by merchant and land speculator Samuel Powel (1765-1807), merchant and philanthropist Anne Willing Bingham (1801-1804), and several other colonial Philadelphians, including shipping merchant John Craig.
The suburban mansion became a popular form of residential architecture in the twentieth and early twenty-first century. A well-known example is the Ardrossan estate in Montgomery County designed by Horace Trumbauer (1906-1938) for Edward T. Stotesbury, a financier who grew up in a middle-class Quaker family. The sprawling white marble and brick residence, with its 147 rooms and three elevators, was once compared to the Palace of Versailles. It has since been converted to a museum.