Speculative housing had always been a part of
the colonial economy. Often a builder would build
one or two houses at a time and sell one and
keep one for himself (notice the many pairs of
houses throughout Society Hill). Things changed
after the Revolution and the greater prosperity of
merchants and other wealthy people prompted
speculators to begin to build whole rows of
houses which they would sell to individuals or
retain and rent out. Often aimed at the growing
middle and upper middle class of craftsmen and
merchants, these rows were designed by leading
architects of the day.
Built at the end of the first wave of row
development, this row certainly has pedigree.
Funded by Stephan Girard and built in the
emerging Greek revival style, it is beautifully
detailed. The upper stories are rather plain with a
thin marble molding setting off a tiny curved brick
cornice. The large six over six double hung
windows (slightly smaller on the top story) have no
decorative lintels and small marble sills.
Girard Row c1831
This fine example of a Greek
revival row came at the end of the
first wave of speculative row
houses built at the turn of the
century. Noteworthy wrought iron.
Most of the exterior architectural effort is spent on the marble-clad ground floor. A slightly projecting marble base
supports a marble first floor with recessed panels under each window. Running above the windows is a projecting
marble molding which, along with the top molding at the cornice, accentuates the horizontality of the row of houses.
The doorways are restrained (no columns like Portico Row) but beautifully paneled and feature delicate tracing in
the transom windows above. Don't miss the beautiful running Greek key wrought iron work. The marble cladding
and the details create an overall impression of elegant restraint.