text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

Cedar Grove

cedar grove interior

There is a sidewalk of sorts leading from Sweetbriar for part of the way to Cedar Grove, which is an easy ten-minute walk from here. Sweetbriar is the ultimate in sophistication, symmetry and classical feeling. Cedar Grove, on the other hand, began as a country house and it retains the style, charm, warmth and comfort of country living. A white fence, with roses climbing over it, encloses the garden and old trees embower the house. Cedar Grove sits peacefully and quietly in the park, but once it was the center of the life of a large, bustling family.

Since 1927 the house has been part of the park, but in 1748 Elizabeth Coates Paschall built the oldest part of it in Northern Liberties, outside the old boundaries of the city. The front of the house is of regular stone, the sides of irregular stone, the back of brick. There is a wide sloping roof on the front and one side which covers what could be called a flagstone porch. This gives it even more of a farmhouse look. In 1927 the house was dismantled stone by stone and re-erected at its present location.

The great kitchen is perhaps the house's most interesting room, as often happens in these old houses. In addition to the giant fireplace, replete with all the utensils — grill, stewpot, toaster and even the ancient counterpart of a rotisserie, there is a built-in oven and next to it a built-in unit for heating water. The large brass cauldron gives us an idea of how much water was heated at one time. And there are pegs on the walls for hanging chairs when the floors were scrubbed or the kitchen crowded.

To the west of Cedar Grove is a building called Memorial Hall, though it is now known more for the Please Touch Museum which now occupies the space. Use the map above to navigate to the Please Touch Museum

Fairmount Park