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July 21, 2015

On the Market: 5 row homes that are part of history

These properties epitomize the classic Philadelphia home

Real Estate Row Houses
Delancey Street Row House Contributed Art/Foxroach.com

This row house at 233 Delancey St. was built in the early 1800s.

Row houses have been the defining image of a Philadelphia street since at least 1691. Builders loved them because they were easy to build in bulk, were cost-effective since the houses shared a wall and were small enough to fit into narrow lots. And with houses stuck so close together, people have to stick together too – which maybe helps to make the neighborhood a little more neighborly.

It’s hard to believe, but the neighborhood with some of the most amazing examples of historic row houses in the city was considered blighted in the 1960s. Society Hill was in a state of disrepair, and there was talk of tearing down the dilapidated “relics” from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Thankfully, many of those homes were saved and restored. Below, you’ll find amazing examples of historic row houses on the market today – but do note that you’ll be paying for history.

1. Walk down from the bedroom to the garden. 310 S. Second St., $1.25 million

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(Photo courtesy of Zillow)

1815: Andrew Jackson is off fighting in New Orleans because he hasn't gotten the news that the War of 1812 is like, over, man. Meanwhile, this house is built. The four-bedroom home boasts a handsome, restored red brick facade and an incredible two-story living room with partial stone walls. One charming touch is a circular staircase winding from the second floor to a garden where tulips bloom.

Read the listing here.

2. Girard’s Georgian town house. 210 Spruce St., $1.199 million

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(Photo courtesy of Zillow)

Circa 1830: Joseph Smith publishes the "Book of Mormon" (musical to come later), and Philadelphia financier Stephen Girard builds this Georgian-style home. This three-bedroom home has five fireplaces, three of which have mantelpieces made of King of Prussia marble. For a break from the world, retreat to the ivy-covered English tea garden.

Read the listing here.

3. The fireplaces here are worth more than your home. 233 Delancey St., $1.7 million

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(Photo courtesy of Fox & Roach Realtors)

Portraits of old white men glaring over the dinner table. Grandfather clocks. Seriously fancy fireplaces. The Joseph Wetherill House, named after the lumberyard owner who supplied wood for Independence Hall, has all the trappings of a stately Federal home. Built between 1800 and 1810, this five-bedroom home is listed on the Philadelphia Historic Register. The four fireplaces alone -- all have Robert Wellford mantelpieces, which is apparently a pretty big deal to people who are into mantelpieces -- are valued at more than $100,000.

Read the listing here.

4. Close enough to a Colonial. 519-521 Spruce St., $1.050 million

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(Photo courtesy of Fox & Roach)

1792: George Washington wins a second term, and this almost-Colonial-era home goes up. The two-story, three-bedroom house makes a cute contrast with the office building rising up beside it. It was built by Scottish-born engraver John Vallance. His name can be found on some early bank notes, which is appropriate, since you'll have to hand over a lot of bank notes to live here.

Read the listing here.

5. 19th century home with a 21st century skyline. 310 Gaskill St., $849,900

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(Photo courtesy of Zillow)

Walk along the block around the Franklin Drake House and you'll get a view of the 19th century. Climb to the skyline-facing roof deck and you'll get a view of the 21st. This three-bedroom home was built in 1817; be sure to check out the two-story sunken living room with a fireplace and antique bookshelves.

Read the listing here.

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