Landmark Philly Dollhouse 450K

photoAS READERS OF THIS BLOG KNOW, I have a great fondness for diminutive antique row houses, whether part of a mews (a row of converted stables or carriage houses) or just working- class homes along a narrow alley. They’re often coveted for their cuteness, and there’s none cuter than Elfreth’s Alley in Old City, Philadelphia, an intact, double-sided row of two dozen 18th century brick houses with multi-paned windows, dormers, wood shutters, and other Colonial details, including a few still-extant mirrors attached to the shutters on the upper floor, projecting a few inches over the street.

Elfreth’s Alley is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the United States, as you will hear many a group-herding tour guide say. There’s a museum in two adjoining houses — the only two open to the public — where for a $5 donation you can poke into several evocative rooms and hear stories of how families with seven or eight children managed to live in such tight quarters and maybe run a dressmaking business out of the front room besides.

One of the most frequently asked questions on Elfreth’s Alley is “Do people really live here?” Yes, they do. Right now, #130, top, is on the market for 450K, and has been for a few months. The whole well-documented story of the 7-room, 1,196-square-foot house, built in the 1740s, and its inhabitants, is here. The listing agent is Edward Gay, (215) 563-6724.

A similar house two doors down at #134 sold just last month for 420K. Check this link for its sales price history. For a little house of the 18th century, it hasn’t done badly for itself in the 21st.



About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in PHILADELPHIA, PROPERTIES FOR SALE, REAL ESTATE/INVESTING and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Landmark Philly Dollhouse 450K

  1. mud4fun says:

    LOL, it makes me smile when you say things like diminutive house and show a picture of what is regarded by many in the UK as a standard sized terrace house! :-)

    There must be hundreds of thousands of homes of that size still providing family accomodation across the UK. I’ve not been to the US myself but from reading your blog I take it that the average square footage of an American home is significantly larger than that of a UK home?

    We live in an 1850’s house, it was built by the Victorians to house a farm worker and his family. The original part of the house was just 1100 square feet and is still today regarded as a large small house if you know what I mean. Ours was extended back in 1905 so is now 1700 square feet and is considered a medium sized family home. We’ve lived happily here as a family of five and now our eldest daughter has flown the nest the house seems more than large enough!

    Mind you our house, which sits in a prestigious and desirable rural location is still only valued at UK £150K (US $228K) so I’m stunned to hear that houses of this size are so expensive over there. I guess this is a highly desirable place to live, or is in an abnormally expensive area rather than the norm for that size of property? A bit like houses in London here in the UK are sometimes valued at three or four times the national average simply because they are in the capital city.

    Fascinating to read these snapshots of life from around the world.


  2. Jenny M says:

    A beautiful street, I was lucky enough to visit it during my trip to the USA, although I am not sure I would want to live there due to all the tourists.

  3. Julia Mack says:

    Maybe it’s the crazy pricing in Brooklyn, but doesn’t $450 sound reasonable? With a bit of upkeep and ongoing t.l.c., the place will remain one of the gems of residential Philly.

  4. Lol, diminutive? I wonder what the average American tourist makes of the British Victorian terrace then, if you think that house is small. Whole families live in them over here you know ;)

    I do love the look of that house though, especially with the shutters and panes – very cute.

  5. cara says:

    Hello, visitors from Australia (Jenny) and the UK (Mud and LROW). Ha, so true about the differing proportions of British vs. American houses. I have often been conscious in England of how small doorways and houses in general seem. American though I am, I personally believe that 400 sq. ft. per person is the right amount of living space (provided there is some access to the outdoors). In a 1200 square foot house, I feel quite lost by myself. Julia, I agree with you – 450K seems dirt cheap by Brooklyn standards. A similar house in Bklyn Hts or Cobble Hill would be upwards of 2 million. Mud, the Philly house is in a highly desirable section: Old City — both historic and newly hip. But there are other Philly ‘hoods — Society Hill, Rittenhouse Square, Fitler Square, Queen Village — where prices would be about the same.

  6. mud4fun says:

    Ah thanks for that Cara. It does indeed look like a beautiful place to live if you like city life. I prefer a more rural location myself but then I guess it depends on what you do for a living and how far you are prepared to commute. Thankfully I work in IT so get to work from home a few days a week leaving just two days commuting. So I live in the countryside some 130 miles away from my head office leaving me with just two 260 mile round trip commutes per week.

    Agreed on the square footage thing as although our house is relatively small we do have a nice sized garden (1/4 acre’ish) with workshops and sheds too so our total living space is far more substantial. Most summer evenings and weekends are spent outdoors whenever the weather allows so we don’t feel confined in quite the same way as somebody stuck in a flat.


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