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Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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1910, Addison Hutton; 1995–1999 restoration and adaptation, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA). 1300 Locust St.

Just to the east of Broad Street at Locust Street is a cluster of elite institutions and houses that form a bridge between the old city and Rittenhouse Square to the west. Such is the appropriately traditional context for the Historical Society, which avails itself of the eighteenth-century Philadelphia palette of materials—red brick and Pennsylvania blue marble—an appropriate choice for a building that was a treasury of Philadelphia culture; the result, however, was still clearly Victorian in its proportions and volumes. Hutton was first engaged by the Historical Society in 1883 to make additions to its predecessor, the white marble-fronted mansion of John Hare Powel (1832, William Strickland). When that building was demolished, its fireplaces were incorporated into the present design. The interior was much altered to create an exhibition space for the bicentennial and in turn was rethought by VSBA to restore the reading room to its prime space on the ground floor.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Historical Society of Pennsylvania", [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 92-92.

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