Nestled in a verdant, quiet corner of Fairmount Park sits Historic Strawberry Mansion, the landmark that provides the surrounding North Philadelphia neighborhood with its quaint title. Originally known as “Summerville”, the building was constructed in 1790 by a well known lawyer and abolitionist by the name of Judge William Lewis. The two large wings that flank the mansion on either side were added by Judge Joseph Hemphil, the mansion’s second owner. The name “Strawberry Mansion” came to be during the residency of Mrs. Grimes, who was known for selling strawberries and cream to neighbors and visitors.
The interior of the building is rich with history and embellished with numerous items from the past, including everything from antique canopy beds to an enormous doll collection that is housed in the mansion’s unique attic. The historic site typically provides tours from July to mid-December for out-of-towners and local history buffs alike, however, it is currently closed to the public. Interior and exterior structures, including the fragile roof beams that support the ceiling, were in a state of great disrepair but are in the process of being restored and preserved.
Lindsay Burgess and Brad Larrison