Philadelphia Sights

Physick House

  • 321 S. 4th St. Map It
  • Society Hill
  • House/Mansion/Villa

Published 02/01/2016

Fodor's Review

Built in 1786, this is one of two remaining freestanding houses from this era in Society Hill (you will see plenty of the famous Philadelphia row houses here), with elegantly restored interiors and some of the finest Federal and Empire furniture in Philadelphia. Touches of Napoléon's France are everywhere: the golden bee motif woven into upholstery; the magenta-hue Aubusson rug (the emperor's favorite color); and stools in the style of Pompeii, the Roman city rediscovered at the time of the house's construction. Upstairs in the parlor, note the inkstand that still retains Benjamin Franklin's fingerprints. The house's most famous owner was Philip Syng Physick, the "Father of American Surgery" and a leading physician in the days before anesthesia. His most celebrated patient was Chief Justice John Marshall. The garden planted on three sides of the house is filled with plants common during the 19th century: complete with an Etruscan sarcophagus, a natural grotto, and antique cannon, it is considered by some to be the city's loveliest.

Sight Information


321 S. 4th St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106, USA

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Sight Details:

  • $8 adult, $6 students and seniors; children under 6 free
  • Mar.–Dec., Thurs.–Sat. noon–4, Sun. 1–5; closed Jan. and Feb.
  • Tours by appointment only Jan. and Feb.

Published 02/01/2016


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