In 1835, the Directors of The Philadelphia Contributionship commissioned Thomas U. Walter, one of Philadelphia’s leading architects to design an office for the company, a meeting place for the trustees and a home for the treasurer and his family.
Walter’s Greek Revival style building, now a National Historic Landmark, has served as the company’s headquarters since its completion in 1836. While the last treasurer’s family moved out in 1898 and the entire building was converted to office use in the 20th century, an unmistakable aura of elegance surrounds these contemporary offices.
The second floor directors’ meeting rooms continue to be used for monthly meetings and are furnished with wonderful examples of Philadelphia furniture from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. A stuffed woodcock peers at visitors from its perch on the mantle and tall case clocks chime solemnly, marking the passage of time.
A small museum area on the first floor showcases the company’s key documents, including the original 1752 Articles of Agreement hand engrossed on sheets of parchment. A counting house desk with brass lighting gallery provides a central focus to the area which also includes an exhibit of fire marks and artifacts from Philadelphia’s volunteer fire companies. The museum and upper floors are open to visitors by appointment only. Call (215) 627-1752 ext. 1286 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment or for more information.