|Levy-Leas Mansion, 40th & Pine St:
History, Designation & Zoning
Explore neighborhood (photos)
Contact the Neighbors
Why the John P. Levy's House is Important Hidden City
Samuel Sloan and the Emerging Suburb
Plan for West Philadelphia, 1995
Penn's pledge of Responsible Development
Historic Properties In Danger:
The Levy-Leas Mansion
40th and Pine Streets, Philadelphia.
OverviewThe last surviving 40th Street Mansion, 400 S. 40th Street, is in two National Register Districts, adjacent to a third, and a stone's throw from the Woodland Cemetery, a National Register Landmark. In 1973 it was added to Philadelphia's Historic Register, joining the previously certified neighboring properties on the 4000 block of Pine Street. (map)
Advertised in 1853 as an "Italian Cottage" designed by Samuel Sloan, it was amongst the first houses suburban houses built on speculation in the newly planned "Western Portion of Hamilton." First purchased by Jacob Levy, a partner in a Kennsington ship building firm, it was remodelled around 1900 by David Porter Leas into a more colonial revival style. As a corner property of the 4000 block of Pine Street it forms a gateway to an incredibly intact historic neighborhood.
DemolitionBut the Philadelphia Historical Commission approved demolition based on the owner's claim of "financial hardship". On April 22 the Commonwealth Court upheld the Historical Commission's decision to allow demolition based on their interpretation of financial hardship. After careful consideration we have decided not to continue legal appeals to overturn the hardship claim. The decision to save or demolish the historic mansion at 40th and Pine is now entirely in the hands of the University of Pennsylvania. We do not take this decision lightly; at the same time, we will continue to fight the excessive zoning variances in our determination to protect the character of our historic neighborhood.
More under News at our on-line petition.
Adjoining Pine Street properties are also on Philadelphia and National Historic Registers.
House still quite recognizeable in spite of 1960s addition. Look over the top of the 1960s addition.
Stair tower was the most visually unfortunate addition (1975). However, all of the walls of the house itself survive intact. Take a look around the back of the tower
Some Interior photos in "If these Walls Could Talk"
|In the News:
Tie Decision in the First Appeal
PlanPhilly.com (Feb 22, 2013)
If These Walls Could Talk: Deconstructing History
34th Street Magazine (Sept 20, 2012)
Penn's lawyers attempt to deny community's right to appeal. Planphilly
Philadelphia Historical Commission Lacks Spine?
Philadelphia Daily News/ Philly.com (July 3, 2012)
Community Reaction to 'Azalea Gardens'
UC Review, October 19, 2011