Where are the oldest houses in Philadelphia?

Where are the oldest houses in Philadelphia?

There is still hope – Philadelphia Evangelical Church

Philadelphia’s architecture is a mix of historic and modern styles that reflect the city’s history. The first European settlements appeared within the present boundaries of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the 17th century, and most of the structures were log houses. By the 18th century, brick structures had become common. Georgian and then Federal style buildings dominated much of the urban landscape. In the first half of the 19th century, Neo-Grec appeared and flourished with architects such as William Strickland, John Haviland and Thomas U. Walter. In the second half of the 19th century, Victorian architecture became popular and the city’s most notable architect at the time was Frank Furness.

Steel and concrete skyscrapers appeared in the first decades of the 20th century and glass and granite skyscrapers at the end of the century. Construction continued into the 21st century with the city’s tallest building, the Comcast Center. Philadelphia made significant contributions to American architecture. The townhouse was introduced to the United States through Philadelphia in the 17th century, America’s first International Style skyscraper, the PSFS Building, was built in Philadelphia, and one of the most important examples of postmodern architecture, Robert Venturi’s Guild House, is located in the city.

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The curious thing is that the oldest street in the United States did not enter into the original plans of the city of Philadelphia, as told by the EAA association that has been in charge of its preservation since 1934. It was two neighbors, Arthur Wells and John Gilbert, who opened a wagon road between their properties between 1702 and 1704 with the aim of creating an alternative route for artisans and merchants in the area.

The road was later named Elfreth’s Alley after Jeremiah Elfreth, one of the area’s blacksmiths who had married the eldest daughter of merchant John Gilbert, the landowner. Thus Gilbert’s Alley was renamed Elfreth’s Alley when the blacksmith inherited the land.

Today, Elfreth’s Alley is a National Historic Landmark and that has allowed, among other things, its preservation. And we say among other things because it was a neighbor of this typical colonial street, Dolly Ottey, who fought in the early twentieth century to combat its deterioration and created the association that preserves it.  Already in the 60’s of the 20th century, the construction of a highway, Interstate 95, almost took the famous street, but in the end it did not.

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Only 150 kilometers from New York, the historic city of Philadelphia is often overshadowed by the Big Apple and many travelers exclude it from their list of must-see destinations on the East Coast of the United States. This is a mistake, because seen up close, the so-called city of brotherly love is particularly pleasant, interesting and perfectly illustrates the other side of this region of the country.

For Americans, it is the cradle of government, as it was here in 1776 that the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. History oozes from many corners of the city (the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin’s office) and because Philadelphia’s oldest buildings are so well preserved, it is easier to learn about the founding history of the country and the birth of its democracy here than in the not so distant Washington DC.

But it’s not all history in Philadelphia: the fifth largest city in the United States (by population) has an excellent and overwhelming gastronomic, musical and artistic offer, and offers an interesting getaway from New York. Beautiful and easy to explore, Philadelphia invites you to stroll through its elegant squares and alleys to immerse yourself in the history of the country.

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This American city is one of the least known and yet one of the oldest in the United States, with an indisputable historical importance. In just two hours from New York, you can tour the corners of a city that will immerse you in some of the most crucial moments of the birth of the United States. Philadelphia is much more than the steps that Rocky Balboa climbed in the first installment of Rocky, there is much more to see and do in Philadelphia and we tell you about it below.