Local

Positively Philadelphia: The Strawberry Mansion, Beautifully Restored

View Comments
(Strawberry Mansion, in Fairmount Park.  Photo by Lauren Lipton)

(Strawberry Mansion, in Fairmount Park. Photo by Lauren Lipton)

lipton_lauren DL Lauren Lipton
Lauren Lipton, a fixture in Philadelphia journalism, is “at the...
Read More

By Lauren Lipton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)Strawberry Mansion, the largest of the seven historic Fairmount Park houses, recently underwent a restoration, and you’re invited to visit.

“We love to have people just stop in, have a cup of tea,” says Beth Kowalchick, president of the Committee of 1926.  “We’re called ‘The House of Hospitality’ because Joseph Horn, who owned Horn & Hardart, donated $35,000 to restore this house if it would remain a house of hospitality.”

The Committee of 1926 is a group of women who, starting in 1926, have dedicated themselves to the house’s preservation and heritage.

 

(Beth Kowalchick, near a portrait of Judge Joseph Hemphill, the second owner of Strawberry Mansion.  Photo by Lauren Lipton)

(Beth Kowalchick, near a portrait of Judge Joseph Hemphill, the second owner of Strawberry Mansion. Photo by Lauren Lipton)

—–

“Who owned the house originally was Judge (William) Lewis — he built the federal portion,” Kowalchick tells Positively Philadelphia.  “He was an abolitionist, a lawyer, and also one of the drafters of the bill to abolish slavery here in Pennsylvania.”

And the newly renovated house is something to see.

“As you walk through, we have 18th-Century clocks and we have 19th-Century furniture in the banquet room that you’re standing in now,” she points out.  “The ‘Indian Queen’ kitchen is filled with a few things from the Sesquicentennial [in 1926], but mostly all taken after the Indian Queen Tavern, that was originally in Baltimore and Philadelphia.”

(Visitors walk through the 'Indian Queen' kitchen of the Strawberry Mansion.  Photo by Lauren Lipton)

(Visitors walk through the ‘Indian Queen’ kitchen of the Strawberry Mansion. Photo by Lauren Lipton)

—-
A freshly done mural has replaced wallpaper at the house.

“The committee got together and decided that there was no paper that looked like Philadelphia.  So we thought, we’re gonna paint it.   Oil on linen depicts Philadelphia, the port, and both sides of Fairmount Park and all of the park houses,” Kowalchick says.

Hear Lauren Lipton’s expanded interview with Beth Kowalchick in this CBS Philly podcast (runs 6:06)…

For more information, go to historicstrawberrymansion.org.

And, for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

“Positively Philadelphia” main page

View Comments
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33,981 other followers