text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

Physick House

Society Hill 32

We end our tour on 4th Street by visiting one of the most magnificent houses in America. It is the only free-standing house in Society Hill and a superb example of a Federal house restored with Federal furniture. From the moment we enter and hear the guide's friendly, "Welcome to Dr. Physick's House," we are spellbound. The house was built in 1786 by Henry Hill, the executor of Benjamin Franklin's will. It was purchased for Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837) by his sister in 1790. The good doctor lived in the house from 1815 until his death, and his descendants lived here until 1941. Napoleon's influence is everywhere, from the rugs to the swan motif in the wallpaper.

The Society of Cincinnatus, one of the oldest and most distinguished in the United States, has its headquarters in the upstairs parlor. A room honoring Dr. Physick and his many surgical inventions is also on the second floor. The final stop is a bedroom, and here, besides the spectacular bed, are several fine Chippendale pieces.

Society Hill