This West Mt. Airy estate, built in 1913, was designed and constructed by Savery, Scheetz & Savery for Charles B. Pearson, a box manufacturer. As you can see from the above virtual tour, it's a remarkable property. The writer of the copy about this property for the Preservation Directory website is extremely and very endearingly enthusiastic about the history of the Pearson family's box company as it pertained to early 20th-century business in Philadelphia:
Their manufacturing facility on Boston Street in the Kensington section of N.E. Philadelphia was surrounded by textile mills and that proximity bode well for their other specialty items, including hoisery, lapping & clothboards! Did you know that Philadelphia had more textile manufacturers than any other city at the turn of the century? The majority were located in the Northeast! That manufacturing plant actually still stands today, and is now home to the oldest auction company in the US! The Wm. F. Comly & Son auction house was formed in 1834 and the sixth generation of Comly descendents still run the firm today!
The enthusiasm dims somewhat when talking about the house's penultimate owner, Judge Herbert Allan Fogel: "There are some very unique & interesting stories regarding Judge Fogel that I will leave to those that choose to search his post-court history! I choose not to put that information into print."
Oh, do allow us. Judge Fogel, who was appointed by Nixon, serves as a scholarly example of judicial corruption due to a Watergate-inflected real estate scandal: the Gateway Center Corporation bid. Ultimately, Judge Fogel admitted wrongdoing, the FBI investigated and he resigned to avoid prosecution. His moral failings, however, surely didn't compromise the property.
Size: 4,400+ square feet
Rooms: Five bedrooms; four and a half baths; finished basement; caretaker's apartment; carriage house
Grounds: Half-acre of $50,000 worth of rare specimens and a mature fig tree
Reality TV bonus: Eight-person hot tub
· Listing: 6540 Wissahickon Ave. [Prudential, Fox & Roach]