This Greek Revival jewel captures an important moment in American architecture. Greek Revival architecture became all the rage in the early years
of the new republic, and people who owned earlier Georgian inspired buildings began remodeling them to keep au currant. Perhaps the most famous
of these is Andalusia, where in 1833, Nicholas Biddle and Thomas Ustick Walter grafted a Greek portico on a Delaware river mansion creating one of
the earliest and finest Greek revival homes in America.
William Hay, in 1835 seemed to catch the Greek revival bug and added on to his modest house in Northern Liberties. The size and orientation of the
original house can clearly be seen at the roofline from the current side of the building. Hay added rooms at the front of the house, a Greek portico and
flush board siding to obtain a flatter wall surface.
As the only Greek revival
building in Fairmount Park
this little gem deserves more
One can quibble about certain details - for example the Doric columns are much
too tall for their diameter, but the overall effect is very pleasing and the lack of
decoration in areas like the pediment actually works to the house's advantage.
The front windows with hinged panels below which can act as doors and the side
lights around the main entrance on the side are worth noting.
The house was located for most of its life near the intersection of Hunting Park
Avenue and 19th Street where it was a Boarding School for a while. As industry
encroached on the area, its owner Nathan Hatfield gave it to Fairmount Park and
had it moved to its current location.