|Location||212 S. 4th St.
|Architect||Thomas U. Walter
Collins and Autenreith
|Architectural style||Greek Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||71000732|
|Added to NRHP||May 27, 1971|
|Designated NHL||December 22, 1977|
|Designated PHMC||December 17, 1954|
The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire is the oldest property insurance company in the United States. It was organized by Benjamin Franklin in 1752, and incorporated in 1768.
The Contributionship's building, at 212 S. 4th Street between Walnut and Locust Streets in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, was built in 1835-36 and was designed by Thomas U. Walter in the Greek Revival style, with Corinthian columns. The portico was replaced in 1866 by Collins and Autenreith who also expanded the living quarters on the top two floors by the addition of a mansard roof. A marble cornice between the third and fourth floors was also added. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
The Philadelphia Contributionship was founded in 1752, largely through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin. It was structured as a mutual insurance organization, providing fire insurance to a limited area in and around Philadelphia. It introduced several key principles that underpin modern insurance techniques, including inspecting properties to be insured, and setting rates based on a risk assessment. Buildings that were not constructed to specified standards were rejected for coverage, and rates could be raised for unsafe living practices, such as the storage of combustible materials in wooden buildings. The company also was the first to establish a financial reserve from which to pay claims.
The company directors at first met in taverns and other public meeting spaces, with larger organizational meetings taking place at the courthouse. Its directors finally purchased land for a permanent headquarters in 1835. Although the company has not innovated in insurance practices since its early days, it continues to function as an insurer in the Philadelphia area.
|Samuel Rhoads||architect / master carpenter|
- Philadelphia portal
- History of insurance
- History of cooperatives in the United States
- List of National Historic Landmarks in Philadelphia
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Center City, Philadelphia
- Gallery, John Andrew, ed. (2004), Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City (2nd ed.), Philadelphia: Foundation for Architecture, ISBN 0962290815, p.50
- "PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Philadelphia Contributionship". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- "Key events in the history of Contributionship". The Contributionship Companies. Archived from the original on February 5, 2011. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
- George R. Adams (May 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Philadelphia Contributionship" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying 9 photos, exterior and interior, from 1972 and 1977 (32 KB)