The Historic Houses of Fairmount Park are some of the best-preserved examples of 18th and early 19th century early American architecture, all located in one of the country’s most beautiful urban parks. Fairmount Park Conservancy develops special programming in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and stewardship groups at six of these historic homes: Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill Mansion, Lemon Hill Mansion, Mount Pleasant, Strawberry Mansion, and Woodford. These events promote audience diversity, connect the historic houses to the populations that live near and around Fairmount Park, and generate revenue to support the ongoing preservation and activation of these treasures.
Each house offers docent-led historical tours from April through December when visitors can learn more about the architectural details of each of the houses and the families who retreated to the tranquility of these summer villas during the 1700s and 1800s. The City of Philadelphia’s purchase of these properties was integral to the creation of the Fairmount Park so many visitors enjoy today.
In the spirit of the houses’ use as summer villas, programming during the warmer months allows the public at large opportunities to share in the beauty of these open spaces. Recent events have included a Historic Houses Scavenger Hunt which allowed participants fun challenges to examine the history of the houses and Fairmount Park, an Ice Cream Social featuring renowned local vendor Franklin Fountain, tasting of hard cider from local makers at CiderFest, and weeklong residencies of Parks on Tap, the traveling beer garden.
Around the Winter holidays, Fairmount Park Conservancy leads the production of “A Very Philly Christmas,” an entertainment program that expands the Historic Houses’ long tradition of celebrating the Christmas season. Recent years have featured performances by Opera Philadelphia, hors d’ouevres from Garces Catering, and ornament-making with Smith Memorial Playground. Included in this programming is a celebration of the neighborhoods around Fairmount Park entitled “Neighbor’s Day” as well as “Family Day”, curated especially for young visitors and their parents.
For more information regarding the Historic Houses and tour operating hours visit parkcharms.com.