Choose from Four Options
- $11 for general admission for two to Powel House ($16 value)
- $13 for family admission to Powel House ($20 value)
- $11 for general admission for two to Physick House ($16 value)
- $13 for family admission to Physick House ($20 value)
Hours of operation are typically 12–5 on Thursdays–Saturdays and 1–5 on Sundays. Check the calendar to see if the houses are closed for private events.
The dance floor where George Washington and his wife Martha shared an anniversary dance is just one of the many significant sights inside Powel House. The Georgian mansion—celebrating its 250-year anniversary in 2015—dates back to its construction in 1765 by businessman Charles Stedmen, though its most notable inhabitant would be Samuel Powel, the City of Philadelphia’s first mayor. Powel’s inhabitance alone makes the mansion a landmark, but the prestigious guests he and his wife, Elizabeth, entertained are what elevate it to hallowed ground. George Washington, Ben Franklin, and John Adams are just a few of the luminaries whose foot- and dance-steps you can trace on a tour of this American Revolution—era home. Powel House is rich in period detail, and a tour through the parlor, colonial garden, and opulent dining room evoke the lifestyles of the prominent and wealthy during a time when tabloids were mere lining for the cages of carrier pigeons.
In 1815, the man who would become known as “the father of American surgery” took up residence in this house, which was built in 1786. That man was the aptly named Dr. Philip Physick, and in honor of his work, which included caring for Andrew Jackson, John Marshall, and Dolly Madison, the home is now a landmark devoted equally to medical practices and residences of the day. Visitors can view French-style neoclassical furniture in the home portion and medical instruments from Dr. Physick’s period on the second floor. The garden, unusually large for the city, contains more classical elements such as a grotto and statues.
The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks
In 1931, the unthinkable was about to happen. Powel House—the home of the City of Philadelphia's first mayor and a place that played host to such luminaries as George Washington, Ben Franklin, and John Adams—was going to be demolished. So Frances Anne Wister and a group of supporters founded The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks to save the historic building.
Despite the economic depression, they were successful, and 10 years later, they acquired Grumblethorpe in Germantown. They went on to obtain Physick House in the late 1960s, and then procured the Waynesborough estate in 1981. Today, PhilaLandmarks carries on Wister's vision by managing the four house museums and teaching thousands of visitors each year about Philadelphia's history.