September 28, 2016
The fabled home of late Hollywood sensation and nuptial royalty Grace Kelly has finally sold in East Falls, marking the exchange of a Philadelphia treasure that has captivated local residents for several generations.
On Sept. 23, after about four months on the market, the Georgian brick house at 3901 Henry Avenue was purchased for $775,000, according to public records.
"There were multiple offers on the property," said Patty Gernerd, the RE/MAX Legacy realtor who represented the home for Marjorie Bamont, its most recent owner, and the descendants of the Kelly family.
In June, the property was listed for $1 million, but came down $150,000 in July and another $100,000 in August. A competitive bidding process ultimately pushed the sale price up by $25,000.
"We started at a higher offer because we had no idea what the wow-factor would be," Gernerd said. "The people who put in offers really wanted it because of a combination of the name and the architecture."
"There are so many incredible stories about how the Kellys would throw parties for adults and carnivals for the kids," Gernerd said. "The people around there are still very proud of the house and their neighborhood. They stopped by to see how things were going and were thrilled to know that someone would come in to enhance it."
She retired from acting at the age of 26, marrying Prince Rainier III and becoming the Princess of Monaco.
The home itself is unique, Gernerd said, because it has defied the trends of so many historic properties.
"It's a solid-structured building with great bones in it," Gernerd said. "It was built correctly, and most of the originality is still there. The architecture of the time didn't get muted. When people came to look at it, the integrity remained and you could feel the flavor of when it was first built. That was the charm of the house overall."
"People frequently change things so that one room looks like it's from the 19th-century and another room is ultra-modern," Gernerd said. "This was so characteristic of the time. It really is a love story about the way old time houses came about and how families rose to esteem. The Kellys are such a respected name."
Moving forward, Gernerd believes the home will require some repairs and enhancements, but the core features will remain intact.
Those are not the details that will endure as the property enters a new era, its legacy secured by the City of Philadelphia's dedication of an official plaque in 2012.
"It was just a special place and a privilege to represent this family," Gernerd said. "It's nice to have a part in Philadelphia's history. People still recollect seeing Grace wait for the bus and how sweet and kind she was."