Fewer windows emphasize the flat planes of the wall more but the front door
gets a very different treatment with an immense fan light and a pair of
sidelights, each with beautiful tracery. The whole entrance is surrounded by
an immense arched opening with each voussoir emphasized. Two side
roofed porches, with an unroofed narrow section across the rear of the house,
emphasize the house's horizontal feel and a more open relationship with the
outside when compared to the very self-contained Georgian Style.
As elegant as the outside is, the real fireworks are on the interior. It's hard to
say how much of the interior detailing is original - gone for example are any of
the plaster decorations on the ceilings you would expect in a house of this
type, but two features stand out. The first is a Palladian window in the front
hall on the second floor. On the interior it extends to the floor creating a great
visual connection with the outdoor environment. The second "wow" feature is
the stack of three elliptical rooms, one above another, occupying almost the
entire rear of the house. On the ground floor, the room was for dining and on
the upper two floors they were parlors with fine views of the Schuylkill. Most of
rooms have full height double hung windows which both provide exterior
access and a strong visual connection to the exterior environment.
Lemon Hill with its oval rooms
on three levels and a great
integration with the outside
environment defines the elegant
Federal country house. It is also
spectacularly furnished with Art
Museum holdings of the era.
Lemon Hill is the newest of Philadelphia's
three great Federal mansions. While the
Physick House (1788) and the Woodlands
(1780's) were earlier, Lemon Hill strikes
an almost perfect balance of size, site and
detailing. Built for businessman Henry
Pratt, its simplicity and elegance
embodies the Federal Style. It's
particularly interesting to compare the
house to nearby Georgian Mt. Pleasant.
Lemon Hill lacks the projecting pavilion
and while it's also built of stucco over
rubble, it lacks the brick quoins which
greatly simplifies the front elevation. The
hipped roof is also shallower and lacks
dormers, making the roof far less visible.