text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

John Penn's House

Society Hill 12

Immediately next to the Powel House is 242 South 3rd Street, a home that is not open to the public. On this site, however, was the home (1766-1771) of John Penn (1729-95), the last Colonial governor of Pennsylvania, a son of Richard Penn and grandson of William Penn. It was also the home from 1771 to 1810 of Benjamin Chew (1722-1810), the last Colonial Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, whose great house Cliveden was the focal point of the Battle of Germantown. From 1778 to 1780 it was the home of Juan de Miralles (1715-80), the first Spanish diplomatic representative to the United States. He died while visiting Washington at his wartime Morristown headquarters. The house then became the residence of his successor, Francisco Rondon, who lent it to Washington during the winter of 1781-82. So, at one time the Washingtons and the Powels were next-door neighbors. No wonder they became such fast friends in later life.

Society Hill