Political Intrigue. Influence. Sinful Feasts.
Elizabeth Powel and George Washington courtesy American Historical Theater. Photo by Kyle Cassidy.
Photo by Kyle Cassidy
Check out Executive Director, Jonathan Burton's tour of Powel House on NBC'S Open House!
Elizabeth Willing Powel didn’t just entertain the political elite with lavish meals; she had a strong voice and became one of Washington’s closest confidants during his presidency, advising him on issues both personal and political. Her husband Samuel, despite his Colonial-revival moniker of "Patriot Mayor," took a more measured attitude towards Independence, signing the Oath of Allegiance days before the British withdrew their troops from occupied Philadelphia. (The Powels remained at their city residence even while the Earl of Carlisle occupied their bedchamber!) One of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the United States, it was built in 1765 by merchant and businessman Charles Stedman. It later stood witness as the neighborhood around it deteriorated and industrialized. The property was used for manufacturing and warehousing by owner Wolf Klebanksy at the turn of the 19th C. By 1931, under threat of demolition, the house was purchased and became the flagship property of the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks. Later restored and opened as a museum dedicated to Colonial Revivalism, it played an integral role in the redevelopment of Society Hill into one of the nation’s premier heritage neighborhoods just blocks from Independence Hall.
Famous Visitors during the Powel residency included George & Martha Washington, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, the Marquis de Lafayette and John Adams, who wrote of his enjoyment of a "most sinful feast" after a particular visit.
During the early 20th century, Klebansky sold much of the interior architectural detail to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Original architecture elements can be viewed in the Powel Room at both museums.
Looking for more information on Elizabeth Willing Powel and her relationship with George Washington? Mount Vernon's digital encyclopedia can be accessed HERE
244 South Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
If you are interested in renting Powel House for a Private Event an appointment for touring the property is required.
Please fill out this form to schedule your tour.
PUBLIC HISTORY TOUR HOURS
Public history tours are available on the hour
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM (last tour begins at 3:00pm)
12:00 to 3:00 PM (last tour at 3:00pm) on Sundays April-November
Weekends only (Saturday/Sunday) in March and December.
*Closed December 5th, 11th, 25th and 26th.
January and February by appointment only.
All other times by appointment.
$8 General admission
$6 Students and Seniors
$20 per Family
Free for all PhilaLandmarks Members
Groups of 10 or more may tour the house by appointment,
with group rates available.
School groups should contact our executive director at 215.925.2251 ext 200
NOTE: Open hours may be limited due to special events.
Please call (215) 627-0364 to check availability. RSVPs are always welcome.