text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

Rensselaer House

Rittenhouse District 01

Facing the Square on the northeast corner is the former home of Alexander Van Rensselaer, a financier and supporter of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. One of the few splendid old mansions to survive, it once housed the Pennsylvania Athletic Club.

The Alison Building next door contains the offices of the Presbyterian Ministers' Fund, the oldest life insurance company in the world (1717). Adjacent to it, at 1811 Walnut Street and also facing the Square, is the Rittenhouse Club, another of the city's old and exclusive clubs. The author Henry James used to sit at a window and view this Square, too, with his worldly eye.

Rittenhouse Square