The Solitude

The Solitude (HM20E8)

Location: Philadelphia, PA 19104 Philadelphia County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 58.35', W 75° 11.717'

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A Small Country Retreat

John Penn, the grandson of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, was 23 when he arrived in Philadelphia in late 1783 to manage the family property. He purchased 15 acres on the high west bank of the Schuykill River - well outside the city - because of a turbulent political atmosphere which included distrust of the Penn family. It was here in 1774, that he began construction of The Solitude, his small county retreat.
The Solitude was one of the first neoclassical houses in America - and it began a trend. Serving as his own architect, John Penn borrowed ideas from popular buildings in England designed by Robert Adam, which included plaster ceiling ornaments and decorative wrought iron balustrades.
When John Penn returned to England in 1788, the house was still owned by the Penn family. In 1868, Fairmount Park bought The Solitude from the family's estate for 59,000 pounds, over $6 million in today's currency.
The Pennsylvania Legislature granted a charted to the Zoological Society of Pennsylvania in 1859, establishing America's first zoo. In 1872, Fairmount Park offered to lease the land, including The Solitude, to the newly formed Zoological Society for one dollar a year.
The building served a variety of functions over the years, including an exhibition of snakes in its parlor. For many
years prior to 2006, The Solitude housed the Zoo's executive offices.
HM NumberHM20E8
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, August 4th, 2017 at 7:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 483323 N 4424723
Decimal Degrees39.97250000, -75.19528333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 58.35', W 75° 11.717'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 58' 21" N, 75° 11' 43.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)215, 267, 610
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1046-1150 US-13, Philadelphia PA 19104, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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