Monday, November 16, 2009

historic house tour: stenton

Saturday was a gray, dreary day, but a small group of hardy souls (including Meg of Pigtown*Design and Stefan of Architect Design) overcame the rainy day blues to drive up to Philadelphia to visit two of America's oldest surviving houses ~ Stenton (built 1723-1730) and Cliveden (built 1763-1767) ~ ending the season on a serious high note!

Our first stop was Stenton, where we were met by its director (and his lovely wife) and treated to a most delightful and informative tour. Though the house is now rather incongruously tucked behind a derelict factory in the historic Germantown area of of Philadelphia, it was originally built by James Logan as a country retreat, surrounded by gardens and farmland. The distinguished Georgian-style mansion reflects Logan's Quaker faith, but belies the rich tapestry of its collections ~ there are extraordinary examples of early Philadelphia furniture, original documents, and a truly lovely collection of textiles (about which there is more to come!). James Logan was also know for his library of nearly 3,000 books, one of the largest in the colonies ~ in fact, it was his collection that helped form the basis of the Library Company of Philadelphia. He designed special bookcases (an original example of which was recently found in the attic) to fit into what is known as the Blue Lodging Room. But even so there were apparently piles everywhere, prompting George Logan's wife Deborah to call the room her "apartment in the library."

There are so many wonderful layers to Stenton, which I will explore in the next few days. In the mean time, there are lots more photographs here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Elegant. 3,0000 books. Man after our own heart. Wonder if the library/house museum have done an exhibition a la mode LOC/Jefferson's library and the British Library/George III's Library? KDM

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Your photographs are stunning of course -wow!!

My Notting Hill said...

The first picture should be a painting! beautiful.

Pigtown-Design said...

It's so funny how we were all in the exact same place, but got such different pictures.

Anne said...

This house looks wonderful. I'm so sorry I missed this.

Gretchen said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Janet said...

KDM ~ I have no idea. Perhaps the Library Company of Philadelphia has done something along those lines (and if not, they should!).

Stefan, Michelle, Meg and G ~ thank you!

Anne ~ looooove the new icon! Eeeeee!

John R. said...

Janet, you tease! Do you have a photo of the special bookcases you mention?!? I'm dying of curiosity. Please advise. JBR

yellsoftly said...

Your blog is a treasure chest! There are few things more wonderful than old treasures - little gems indeed! I'm in love.

On a more practical note, is Stenton open to the public?

-Sariah

Janet said...

Sariah ~ thank you! And yes, Stenton is open to the public. Please visit their web site for hours and directions: http://www.stenton.org/further/