This estate has the kind of historical pedigree that might make a buyer overlook its faults, but there isn't much to complain about. According to The colonial homes of Philadelphia and its neighborhood, Spring Bank was built sometime in the colonial period and then passed from hand to wealthy hand. It became a sanatorium briefly before it was bought in 1870 by John Welsh, chair of the executive committee of the Sanitary Fair, which was featured in the New York Times for bringing in more than $1,000,000.
Welsh donated $50,000 to the University of Pennsylvania, which endowed a professorship for him. Before his death, he donated some of Spring Bank's land to Fairmount Park, including a statue of William Penn called "Toleration."
Spring Bank also served as a stopping place for Edgar Allan Poe, who fell in love with its views of the Wissahickon—so much so that he wrote an essay, "Morning on the Wissahickon," about its surroundings:
Now the Wissahickon is of so remarkable a lovliness that, were it flowing in England, it would be the theme of every bard and the common topic of every tongue, if, indeed, its banks were not parcelled off in lots, at an exorbitant price, as villas for the opulent. Nowadays the house is still pretty opulent, but the price has dropped by $100,000, which is not insignificant.
Size: Seven bedrooms, four full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, 17 rooms total. House: 7,500 square feet.
Acreage: 1.62 acres
Architecture geek bonus: The house was renovated by Frank Furness
· Listing: 6700 Wissahickon Ave. [Prudential Fox Roach]