Mount Pleasant (mansion)

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Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant mansion
Location Fairmount Park
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Coordinates 39°59′0″N 75°11′59″W / 39.98333°N 75.19972°W / 39.98333; -75.19972Coordinates: 39°59′0″N 75°11′59″W / 39.98333°N 75.19972°W / 39.98333; -75.19972
Area < 1-acre (4,000 m2)
Built c. 1761
Architectural style Georgian
Governing body Local (Fairmount Park Commission)
NRHP Reference # 66000685
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL May 30, 1974[2]

Mount Pleasant is a historic mansion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, atop cliffs overlooking the Schuylkill River. It was built about 1761-62 in what was then the countryside outside of the city by John Mcpherson and his wife Margaret. Macpherson was a privateer, or perhaps a pirate, who had had "an arm twice shot off" according to John Adams. He named the house "Clunie" after the seat of his family's ancient clan in Scotland.[3]

The builder-architect was Thomas Nevell (1721–1797), an apprentice of Edmund Woolley, who built Independence Hall. The house is administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Fairmount Park.[4]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974 and is located on Mount Pleasant Drive, between Kelly Drive and Columbia Avenue.[2][5]

Architecture and history[edit]

Captain John Macpherson (1726–1792)

The Georgian mansion has an entrance topped by a pediment supported by Doric columns.[6] A balustrade crowns the roof which also has prominent dormers and two large chimneys. Two small pavilions flank the main house, an office and a summer kitchen.

John Adams visited the mansion in 1775 and called it "the most elegant seat in Pennsylvania." The interiors contain the original paneling with ornamental carving, and still show the "elegance of the lifestyle of colonial elites," as well as souvenirs of Mcpherson's life and times, and period furniture by craftsmen such as Martin Jugiez. The furniture is from the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.[7]

Mount Pleasant was also home to Benedict Arnold and his wife Peggy Shippen. Arnold purchased Mount Pleasant on March 22, 1779 for his new bride, and specifically made the property over to her ownership and that of their future children. The couple occupied the property as their country estate in 1779 and 1780; Arnold's defection to the British in September 1780 ended their use of the estate.[8]

Historic American Buildings Survey photographs[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Mount Pleasant". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved March 15, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Mount Pleasant." (html). Independence Hall Association. 
  4. ^ Philadelphia Museum of Art. ""Fairmount Park Houses: Mount Pleasant."" (html). 
  5. ^ Patricia Heintzelman (August 30, 1974). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination:  PDF (32 KB). National Park Service.  and Accompanying seven photos, exterior and interior, from 1974 and undated PDF (32 KB)
  6. ^ Mount Pleasant :: gophila.com – The Official Visitor Site for Greater Philadelphia
  7. ^ Mount Pleasant, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Accessed May 22, 2012.
  8. ^ New York Times, June 7, 1896

External links[edit]