Documentary history of the house at 3805 Locust Walk

In August of 1850, Hugh Mcllvain, a lumber merchant, sold a large plot of land beginning at the corner of 38th and Locust Streets, measuring 200 feet along Locust and 175 feet along 38th Street, to Nathaniael B. Brown, an attorney. By 1852, N. B. Brown had divided the land into smaller lots. The property known as 3805 Locust Street, which began 145 feet one inch from 38th Street, measured fifty-five feet along Locust Street and was 165 feet deep Northward of Locust Street. He sold the property with "a brick cottage thereon erected" to Samuel A. Harrison, a merchant, in June of 1952.

Less than a year later, S. A. Harrison sold the property to Robert Reed, a grocer. In 1862, the Reeds sold the property to Caroline Hemmick, wife of William H. Hemmick, a gentleman. The Hemmicks defaulted on their payments in the summer of 1867, so the property was sold at auction to Wharton E. Harris, a sugar refiner. When Wharton E. Harris died in 1870, his will directed that his parents were to continue to live in his Cottage at 3805 Locust Street. His wife and minor children were to continue to live in their Mansion House at 3907 Spruce Street. The Trustees of the Estate sold the Cottage to Anthony J. Drexel, a banker, in 1885. Atlases of West Philadelphia in 1878 and 1886 show that A. J. Drexel owned the remainder of the block west of the property up to 39th Street as well as the lot directly behind them. During DrexeFs ownership of the property, the house was expanded Northward to include what today is the laundry and storage rooms.

Anthony J. Drexel died in 1893, but the house was not sold by his Trustees until 1909 to Elizabeth T. Bowles, a widow. It was at this time that the dimensions of the property were changed to fifty-five feet five inches along Locust Street and a depth Northward of 150 feet. Four years later, the property was sold to Elizabeth McCall-Hoffman, wife of Edward F. Hoffman. The property remained in the Hoffman family until Edward F. Hoffman, Jr. sold the property to Robert R. Fay in April of 1930. Two days later, Robert Fay sold the property to Sigma Zeta Fraternity. By December, the property was sold to the University of Pennsylvania, who continues to own it. In 1955 the property served as the residence for the Chaplain the University. As of this writing, 3805 Locust Walk is the Writer's House, which is a place where "creative writing activities are organized, promoted, and shared" by Penn students.

The "Designed by Samuel Sloan for S.A. Harrison" question

The Deeds for the house contradict known secondary sources that contend that 3805 Locust Walk was designed by Samuel Sloan for S. A. Harrison. Clearly, the house was already built by the time S. A. Harrison acquired the property. If it were in fact designed by Sloan, it would have been for Nathaniel B. Brown.

The source of this contention appears to be a master's thesis written in 1963 about Samuel Sloan. In it, the author cites an Article written in the Public Ledger on May 1, 1851 as his only proof.

"...Two mansions in the English Pointed Gothic Style are also nearly completed for S. A. Harrison, Esq., after designs furnished by Mr. Sloan. They have a front of 44 feet, and are ornamented with bay windows and verandahs, rendering them highly picturesque."

Not only was the property owned by N. B. Brown in 1851, but the article is vague as to the location of the house.

However, the article does discuss other houses designed by Samuel Sloan for N. B. Brown that were under construction at the time. It is quite possible that Samuel Sloan did design the house. While this may be the wrong article, it is not necessarily the wrong architect. The Public Ledger published reports of new building projects listing the owner, architect, and location in a daily column called "Local Affairs." Samuel Sloan's Philadelphia commissions were announced in the column regularly until 1858. Further research should be conducted at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia to verify the architect.


When 3805 Locust Walk was built in 1851, West Philadelphia was considered a suburb. Since Athenaeum was one of the first buildings in Philadelphia to be piped for gas in 1845, then it is unlikely, yet not impossible, that the house was piped for gas during its construction. Since the maps available at the Free Library did not include gas or electric lines in their surveys of the area, it can not be absolutely determined.

Assuming that the house was not piped for gas originally, the occupants would have used solar lamps that burned lard oil. These lamps were mass produced in large numbers during the 1840s and 1850s. It is also possible that they also had lamps that used burning fluid, a mixture of turpentine and alcohol. This was a highly flammable mixture, and its use was strongly discouraged in Godey's Ladies Book. In 1859, kerosene was discovered. Due to the close proximity of the petroleum source, the use of kerosene would have spread rapidly in Philadelphia. With the Civil War, the unavailability of turpentine, which was made from Southern pine trees, virtually ended the use of burning fluid. Lighting manufacturers sold kits to convert burning and solar lamps to bum kerosene. Even in houses that were piped for gas, kerosene lamps were sometimes used as table lighting into the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Although gas had been installed in a London factory as early as 1798 and Baltimore had lit its streets in 1816, the Philadelphia Gas Works did not begin construction of its first plant, located on Market Street along the Schuylkill River, until 1836. During the 1840s and 1850s, gas had been sufficiently refined as to remove impurities that caused smoke and odors that it began to become increasingly popular for residential use. Although it met with a slow start, by 1850 the popularity of gas had increased so that a second plant was built on Passyunk Avenue, along the Schuylkill River. By 1880, Philadelphia had 742 miles of gas mains, 13,100 street lamps, and 102,000 paying customers.

3805 Locust Walk had gas lighting because the gas pipes are still run along the ceiling of the basement. Certainly, from the shear number of miles of gas mains. West Philadelphia would have been piped for gas by 1880. While the 1872 Atlas of West Philadelphia does not show any mechanical systems, the 1878 Atlas does show fire plugs as well as another system running through the center of Locust Street that is unidentified.

Another clue is the inventory taken for Wharton E. Harris in 1870 for his Mansion House at 3907 Spruce Street. There is not a single mention of any lighting device. This indicates that all fixtures were attached to house and, therefore, considered part of the house. This would be the case if they were all gasoliers, wall brackets, hanging lanterns, or newelpost lights at the foot of the main stairs. Although it is possible that the lighting devices were simply omitted, the inventory does include items as inexpensive as washstands and towel racks. The other possibility is that due to the nature of oil lamps, they may have been in the kitchen being cleaned at the time the inventory was taken, especially with the valuation being $50 for that room. While this information is for another house, Wharton E. Harris was certainly affluent enough that he could have afforded the installation of gas into his Cottage House in which his parents lived.

Although the evidence presented is not conclusive, it does indicate that gas was most likely installed between 1867, when Wharton E. Harris acquired the property, and 1880, when the city boasted over 700 miles of gas mains. Insurance surveys and historic photographs of interiors of nearby properties would offer further clarification in determining this question.

As for electricity, the lighting of street lamps on Chestnut Street, from river to river, in December of 1881 was the first municipally directed venture with electricity in Philadelphia. Circa 1889, a vigorous ad campaign was launched to educate the public about its advantages and to put aside their fears. By 1895, the Edison Electric Light Company received the right to lay conduits under all of the city streets between Callowhill and Lombard Streets and the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Philadelphia not only was considered the best lit city in the country, but it had almost as many street lights as New York, Boston, and Chicago combined. In 1909, the company announced that "modern houses, large and small, are being wired nowadays. You can find them in every section of the city. Hundreds of two story houses in West Philadelphia are now using electricity."

As for 3805 Locust Walk, the property was owned by Anthony J. Drexel, an incredibly affluent banker, or his Estate, between 1885 and 1909. It is unclear as to whether the house was used for guests, extended family, servants or as a rental property. It is possible that the Drexel may have had the house wired for electricity between 1885 and his death in 1893. There is certainly enough old, exposed wiring in the basement to support this theory. However, no evidence of a knob and tube installation, which was popular up until the 1920s, was found. Since Drexel died before electrical appliances and the development of the tungsten filament, it is highly unlikely that he would have bothered to electrify the house. As for the next owner, Elizabeth T. Bowles, she is an unlikely candidate being a widow and only owning the house for four years. The next owners were the Hoffmans. They owned the house from 1913 until 1930. Since there is abundant evidence of a circa 1920 wiring of the house, it is highly unlikely that they would have embarked on two separate wiring campaigns in such a short period of time.

Therefore, the evidence presented points to the 1920s as the first installation of electricity in the house. The east side of the house illustrates best that the house was retrofitted for electricity. There are ample light switches that are c. 1920 that remain all over the house. There are still some former gas pipes wired with electricity in the basement, which are still in use. The electrification appears to have coincided with a major renovation of the house. All evidence of former gas pipes on the upper floors were completely eliminated, and the fireplaces were all update to the colonial revival that was so popular during the 1920s.

Many light fixtures remain that appear to have been from this first installation including the lanterns in the foyer, the second floor hall, and the front porch light. Lanterns have remained a standard exterior or hall fixture and were used extensively during the early 20th century as either reproductions or as electrified antiques. The two sets of imitation candle brackets in the dining room surrounding the fireplace and the pocket doors also appear to date from this installation. By the 1920s, variations of the "electric candle had become one of the most popular of all lighting styles." The light in the closet of the dining room appears to have been an early installation as well. The fact that the wire is exposed is curious. It is possible that this light was an oversight during the renovation and was added later. Because it was in a closet, its possible that they did not want to go through the trouble and expense to have the wire imbedded in the wall after the work was completed. Two other important fixtures in the house are the drop cord pendant in the second story hall closet and in the third floor stairway. Drop cord pendants were used as early functional fixtures. They remained acceptable into the 1920s, but usually for low cost lighting m utilitarian spaces such as in this closet and stairway.

On the first floor, the light switches abruptly change to modern switches in the breakfast room. This probably indicates a more recent update to higher voltage wires to run the kitchen and laundry appliances. Switches forward of the breakfast area are circa 1920. On the second floor, there is no clear pattern for the older and newer switches. As appliances became more powerful and technology increased the voltage required to run them, the house was rewired in the sections in which these machines were used. The light fixtures above the breakfast table, in the study and sitting room, and in the laundry and storage room indicate that this probably happened during the 1960s. The track lighting in the kitchen was probably installed during the 1980s.

As the house is rewired to support the new computers, connecting the wire to the c. 1920 light switches would be ideal to helping retain the historic fabric of the house. More importantly, the c. 1920 light fixtures should be retained. They are still functional and appeal to our aesthetic today. Afterall, the colonial revival has been the longest, continuously popular style in America spanning from the Centennial in 1876 through today.


By 1850s, Philadelphia had become the center of the coal trade. Most likely, coal would have been the original means of heating the house. There are fireplaces in nearly all of the rooms of the house. Each fireplaces has a shallow opening. This indicates that they were designed specifically for the burning of coal. A coal stove would have been placed directly into the fireplace rather than using a pipe to connect the stove to the flue.

Near the south wall in the basement, there is a large brick furnace with a small iron door that would have been opened to facilitate the burning of coal. Furnaces were often connected to a series of ducts that would allow the hot air to flow throughput the house. However, no evidence of these ducts was found. Instead of being installed for a gravity fed hot air system, the furnace may have been installed to fuel the radiators. There is a large, wooden, metal-lined box suspended from the ceiling between the furnace and the west wall of the basement. It has a pipe that is three to four inches in diameter coming out of it that leads towards the water pipes, but it is capped. Perhaps this box held water that was used to create steam for the radiators when the system was first installed. Today, there is an oil heater and a standard late twentieth century hot water heater that connect to the system.

The radiators are still in use today. Because all of the radiators appear to have the same design on them, except the ones in the kitchen and laundry room, they were probably all installed at the same time. Since this includes the rooms on the second floor in the addition, this system was installed after 1886. The name "Walworth" was found on the radiator in the second floor sitting room. The decorative design on these radiators indicate that they were probably made before the turn of the century. The radiators in the laundry and kitchen are plain and narrow. Because of their streamlined appearance, they were probably installed sometime after 1925. The radiator on the east wall of the kitchen has the name "American" on it. None of the radiators appear to be dated. Also, there is a modem thermostat located in the dining room on the south wall that controls the system.

There are pocket doors in between the living room and the dining room. Pocket doors were often used during the nineteenth century as a means of retaining heat in a room. The heating systems that were used were not able to heat spaces as efficiently as they do today. Instead of having open floor plans, rooms were much more compartmentalized throughout much of the nineteenth century. It was not until heating improved that architects were able to move in the direction of the open floor plan.


In order to stay cool during the summer, the residents of 3805 Locust Walk would have used screens on the windows. This would have allowed the cool breezes into the house and kept the bugs at bay. The screens are still in place on the double doors in the living room leading to the outside and on a basement window on the west side of the house. There is also a screen in the storage room shaped to fit a front window with its low, flat Tudor Gothic arch. As mentioned in the security section, there are pintels on some of the upper windows on the sides of the house. This indicates that they had louvered shutters on those windows to allow in breezes and regulate light.

There are hooks midway down the frame of the left, second story, front window that indicate that at least this window had an awning. Awnings were used as a cooling device for much of the nineteenth century. They were most often canvas and had a striped motif in cool colors such as blue and green. Awnings were recommended for windows that received the most direct sunlight. This holds to the evidence because the front of the house has southern exposure.

Another way to keep a house cool was through the use of ventilation window above doors in the interior of the house. This would allow for the free flow of air with the desired privacy. Ventilation windows served several purposes including cooling, reducing the amount of vitiated air in the room, and providing natural light for the hallway.

Beginning in the 1830s, theories began to develop that air once expelled from the lungs was no longer suitable to breathe and therefore, vitiated. This air coupled with tight sleeping quarters and dosed stoves was considered a national poison. Systems were developed throughout the nineteenth century that allowed for the circulation and introduction of unvitiated air in rooms. The movement reached a fervor after the Civil War.


Philadelphia built its first waterworks in 1802. It was situated at Chestnut Street on the Schuylkill River and used steam engines to pump untreated water through wooden mains. People were reluctant to subscribe to this new amenity because the city already provided free water service through common street pumps and hydrants. By 1811, only 2,127 out of 54,000 residents used the service. A new facility was built at Fairmount in 1815 and doctors began to recommend a filtration system. By 1823, a dam was completed in order to reduce the chances of tidal backwashes that rendered the water undrinkable. By 1837, there were 1,500 bathrooms in Philadelphia with running water. By 1848, there were over seventy-seven miles of water mains in the city. In 1854, only 3,000 families were still dependent on public hydrants for their water. By 1880, there were 772 miles of underground pipes connecting 150,000 homes, 67,000 bathrooms, and 6,100 fire plugs. Despite pressure treat sewage and filter drinking water, neither was done during the nineteenth century.

The deeds for 3805 Locust Street specifically refer to a twenty foot wide street in back of the property that is for common use as a passage and watercourse from the time the house is erected until the Drexel Trustees sold a smaller lot in 1909. This would indicate that the house was to use this watercourse for their water and sewer.

The 1872 Atlas is the first map that shows any type of detail of West Philadelphia that is in the collection at the Free Library. It does not show any type of mechanical system existing; however, since it does not offer a key, they may have simply omitted them. The 1878 Atlas shows an unidentified system existing in the middle of Locust Street. This may be a water system because it does show fire plugs. Whether the water is there solely for municipal purposes is questionable. Finally, the 1886 Atlas does illustrate a water pipe of six inches in diameter as well as a sewer system. By 1909, the water pipes had been changed to eight inches in diameter.

Initially, it was felt that the deeds and the maps indicate that 3805 Locust Walk was not connected to the public waterworks when it was constructed. The evidence in the house did as well. The north wall of the basement appears to have had a hole knocked in it to allow the water pipes into the house; however, this may have been from introducing replacement pipes in the twentieth century. Also, the water pipes throughout the house are exposed to indicate that the house was retrofitted for water. Yet, on closer inspection, these pipes are all in the addition in the service areas of the house where appearances would not matter.

The key factor that indicates that the house was originally piped with water is the statistic aforementioned that in 1854 there were only 3,000 families still dependent on public hydrants for their water. 1854 is the same year that the political subdivisions that made up Philadelphia County were consolidated into the City of Philadelphia. This would mean that there were only 3,000 families in all of what was Philadelphia County were not connected to city water.

Another factor is the absence of a cistern. The attic is finished and appears to have been built that way. There may be a separate passage leading to the rafters of the attic in the resident overseer's private apartment on the third floor, but this area was not investigated. In the basement, there is a wooden box with metal lining as mentioned in the heating section. Initially, it was felt that this unit held water that was heated by the furnace and connected to the water pipes upstairs. However, with the number of gallons of hot water needed to supply a family, it probably was not used for this purpose. Also, there does not appear to have been a connection that would have supplied the unit with rainwater. The original hot water heater was probably connected to the kitchen range much like at Sunnyside in Tarrytown, New York.

As for the current system, there are water pipes that lead into the basement along the north wall. These pipes lead to a late twentieth century hot water heater and to the upper floors of the house.


The original purpose of the waterworks was to have an ample water supply with which to flush the streets. It was hoped that by flushing the garbage and excrement from the streets the outbreaks of disease would be reduced. It wasn't until 1855 that a systematic plan was developed for constructing sewers. At that time, there were less than forty miles of sewer lines in Philadelphia. In 1883, an intercepting sewer was built to deposit sewage below the Fairmount dam. This was the first time that the city tried to prevent sewage from being discharged into principal water courses. By 1900, there were over 700 miles of sewer lines. It was not until 1902 that the first water filtration system was built for Philadelphia.

As indicated with the water system, the sewer system does not appear in the Atlas of West Philadelphia until 1886. The evidence in the house is perplexing. Although the west wall where the pipes enter the basement does not appear to have been disturbed, the visible sewer pipes running through the house indicate that the system was added after construction. They run through the bathroom in the laundry room, the southwest comer of the breakfast area, and the second floor hall closet. However, this may be due to the construction method of a masonry house or fear of the pipes bursting in the walls.

As with the water, it was not felt that 3805 Locust Street had a sewer system until c. 1886, when there is a clear indication in the Atlas. However, the statistic that Philadelphia had less than forty miles of sewer lines in 1855 may be misleading. Today, sewer systems are a series of interconnected pipes that lead to a sewage treatment facility. In 1855, sewer pipes ran into convenient watercourses, which did not require as many miles of piping. Therefore, the sewage pipe for 3805 Locust Street most likely lead to the watercourse in the twenty foot wide street in the back of the property when the house was first constructed.


During the mid-nineteenth century, portable bathing and toilet facilities began to be replaced by permanent installations. The leading authority on taste, A. J. Downing, offered house plans so that houses costing as little as $3,000 included bathrooms and water closets. Since the house sold in 1852 for $6,000, it would be fair to say that the house had a bathroom.

At the top of the stairs on the second floor, there is a relatively large bathroom. After reviewing the cottage and villa floor plans in A.J. Downings' The Architecture of Country Houses, this front bathroom was most likely a bedroom. Only bathrooms in the large villas, which cost $10,000 or more to construct, are as large as this bathroom. Water closets, what today is known as a half-bath, were quite small. Only the most expensive design had a separate water closet and bathroom, or in today's terms one and a half-baths.

The design that is most similar to 3805 Locust Walk is "Villa in the Italian Style." This design is equipped with a bathroom, has a construction price of $4,600, and has the about the same number of rooms as the original structure. The plan indicates that the hall closet on the second floor of 3805 Locust Walk was once the bathroom. Not only does this closet have the sewer pipes going through it, but it is slightly larger that the bathroom located off the sitting room on the second floor. Further, people in the second half of the nineteenth century were terrified of sewer gas and tended to locate their bathrooms and water closets as far away from the sleeping quarters as possible.

The tub in the front bathroom is cast iron with an enamel interior finish and a painted exterior. By 1879, American Standard was producing one or two of these tubs a day. By 1894, Motts began making tubs in vitreous china. Although there were still footed tubs available m American Standard's catalog in the 1920s, by the 1890s, footed tubs "had come under criticism as posing serious housekeeping problems." The finish combined with the criticism indicates that it is late nineteenth century tub. When this room was converted into a bathroom is not known. This tub may have been the originally installed in this location or it may have been moved from what is believed to be the original bathroom. Before the mid-1920s when manufacturers debuted colored fixtures, white was synonymous with sanitation. The lights on either side of the mirror indicate that this room and the white tiles on the walls and floor indicate was a bathroom by the 1920s. The sink looks quite similar to examples shown in Motts 1914 catalog, while the toilet dates from the late twentieth century. Special care should be taken to save the tub, sink, and light fixtures in this bathroom.

The bathroom off the sitting room on the second floor appears to have been updated with a combination shower and tub, but this sink too, is similar to several illustrations in Motts 1914 catalog. The downstairs bathroom appears to have been carved out of the laundry room. It was probably added sometime during this century.

The kitchen

On the outside of the building, there is a definite change from scored stucco to painted brick between the breakfast room and the kitchen. The basement also ends at this dividing line. This indicates that the original kitchen was where the breakfast room is today. As aforementioned, by the 1850s, Philadelphia had become the center of the coal trade, and America had begun its most active period in designing cast iron stoves. Because there is no evidence in the basement for the supports of a cooking fireplace and the proximity to Philadelphia, 3805 Locust Walk would have originally used a coal burning range for cooking. In 1880, the public began to lose its distrust of cooking with gas. Gas ranges began to overtake the cast-Iron range and remained the dominant cooking source until 1930. When Anthony J. Drexel expanded the house sometime between 1886 and 1909, a gas range was probably installed. When the Hoffmans renovated the house during the 1920s, they probably installed an updated gas range and perhaps a refrigerator. The white refrigerator in the storage room and sink unit may have been installed then or during the 1930s after the University had acquired the property. Manufacturers began to sell appliances such as these during the 1920s, but it wasn't until the 1930s that kitchens began to be sold in harmonized units. An insurance survey for 3803 Locust Walk shows that they were still using a gas range in 1944. This was probably the case for 3805 Locust Walk as well. The current cabinetry, gas range, and refrigerator appear have been installed during the 1970s.

The laundry room

During the 1860s, the mechanization of the laundry began. 1869 was the year that a washing machine was introduced that prevailed in household use. Between 1870 and 1890, the production of washers doubled, but mainly for commercial uses. By 1900, the hand cranked washer had begun to replace the washboard. In 1910, appliances such as washers, irons, and vacuums were shunned as taking away from women's traditional duties, but hailed by others as freeing the housewife to complete long neglected tasks. In 1926, 900,000 washers were sold at a cost of $150, and in 1935, 1.4 million were sold at a cost of S60 per machine. By 1939, washers became fully automatic.

As for the nineteenth century, there were probably servants that did the laundry, and therefore, there was little need to keep pace with the latest machines. They may have had a hand cranked washer that did little to relieve the burdens of the washboard. It is quite probable that the Hoffman's installed a semi-automatic washer during their circa 1920 renovations. The University has probably replaced its washers every ten to twenty years as they breakdown.

Call bell system

In Sloan's Victorian Buildings Samuel Sloan advocates the use of a call bell system and speaking tubes. Although no evidence was discovered in the house for such a system, there probably was one up until the circa 1920 renovation.

The third floor

As for the third floor, the back section is an apartment for the resident overseer, complete with a bathroom, which explains the sewer pipe in the second floor closet. The front section that is used for storage has a single porcelain socket and one window. The door on the second floor leading to this space has translucent glass to allow in light. There are also windows between the two rooms, along with a pendant light fixture. These windows were most likely part of the original lighting system for what would have been the servant's and/or children's living quarters.

Record of deed transfers

August 3, 1850
Deed Book Series GWC Book 62 Page 331 &c.
Hugh McIlvain et ux
Nathaniel B. Brown

June 19, 1852
Deed Book Series TH Book 27 Page 239 &c.
Nathaniel B. Brown et ux
Samuel A. Harrison

April 20, 1853
Deed Book Series TH Book 81 Page 278 &c.
Samuel A. Harrison et ux
Robert Reed

December 30, 1862
Deed Book Series ACH Book 71 Page 462 &c.
Robert Reed et ux
Caroline R. Hemmick

August 7, 1867
Sheriffs Deed Book 65 page 420 &c.
Robert Reed
William H. Hemmick et al
     Deed to
Wharton E. Harris

March 5, 1870
1870 Will #155, Will Book 66 Page 591 &c.
Wharton E. Harris
Richard C. Harris et al Trustees

March 23, 1885
Deed Book Series GGP Book 2 page 456 &c.
Richard C. Harris et al Trustees &c.
Anthony J. Drexel

March 23, 1885
Deed Book Series GGP Book 2 Page 463 &c.
Caroline C. Harris
Anthony Drexel

June 30, 1893
1893 Will #1089, Will Book 168 Page 60 &c.
Anthony J. Drexel
John R. Drexel et al Trustees &c.

November 23, 1909
Deed Book Series WSV Book 1203 Page 525 &c.
Transfer Sheet 19S13, #50
John R. Drexel et al Trustees &c.
Elizabeth T. Bowles

May 21, 1913
Transfer Sheet 19S13, #50
Elizabeth T. Bowles
Elizabeth McCall-Hoffman
wife of Edward F. Hoffman

April 23, 1920
1920 Will No. 1376, Will Book 425 Page 93 &c.
Elizabeth Hoffman
Edward F. Hoffman

February 25, 1929
1929 Will #953
Edward F. Hoffman
Edward F. Hoffman, Jr.
& Phoebe Hoffman

May 23, 1929
Transfer Sheet 19S13, #50
Phoebe Hoffman
Edward F. Hoffman, Jr.

April 8, 1930
Transfer Sheet 19S13, #50
Edward F. Hoffman, Jr.
& Elizabeth Rodman, his wife
Robert R. Fay

April 10, 1930
Transfer Sheet 19S13, #50
Robert R. Fay
Sigma Zeta Fraternity

December 17, 1930
Transfer Sheet 19S13, #50
Sigma Zeta Fraternity
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania

Article in the public ledger cited as proof that 3805 Locust Walk was designed by Samuel Sloan for S.A. Harrison

PUBLIC LEDGER Vol. XXXI, no. 31, Philadelphia, Thursday, May 1,1851, pg. 2, col. 3

Improvements in West Philadelphia -- A large number of spacious mansions are in progress in this beautiful district, and a still greater number are projected by the owners of the land recently thrown into the market by the march of improvement.

A villa, in the Italian Style for N. B. Brown Esq., of this city, on Locust Street between Mary and William, is now nearly completed. The design was furnished by Samuel Sloan, Architect, and is highly credible to his taste. It is 40 by 63 feet, with a tower of 70 feet, and a semi-circular verandah ornamenting the front.

In addition to the above, Mr. Sloan has prepared a plan for a splendid summer residence for the same gentleman, which will be erected in the vicinity of Spruce and Hamilton Streets, in what was formally known as the western portion of Hamiltonville, but now is included in the district of West Philadelphia. It will be a corner house, and occupy a space of 58 feet by 44. The style adopted is the pointed gothic, with hipped tile roof. The principle front has an octagon tower 70 feet in height, at the foot of which will be the main entrance, with a porch, besides a grand observatory. The lower floor has a grand hall 15 by 23 feet, and a library, dining room and parlor, which all communicate by folding doors.

Mr. Sloan is also employed in drawing plans for ten tasty summer residences, to be erected during the present season for Andrew D. Cask, Esq., of this city. Two of them are to front on Westminster Avenue on lots 100 feet front by 120 feet deep having a twenty feet street opened between them. The others are to be located on Onieda Street, grouped in blocks of two together, on lots of 160 feet square. They are all to be in the gothic style, of stone, covered with mastic to represent brown stone, and when complete will be the most beautiful ornaments to that thriving portion of the new district.

The square of ground on Locust Street between William and [Tile?] streets is being beautifully improved by eight handsome residences, grouped together in blocks of two. Each house is 20 by 70 feet, with a side yard of 30 feet. The plans, drawn by Mr. Samuel Sloan, are in the Italian Style of architecture, three stories in height. The buildings, which are of stone, are now nearly ready to be roofed in. They are to be covered with mastic, in imitation of stone, but a pleasing variety will be afforded by the colors chosen being of different shades.

Two mansions in the English Pointed Gothic Style are also nearly completed for S. A. Harrison, Esq., after designs furnished by Mr. Sloan. They have a front of 44 feet, and are ornamented with bay windows and verandahs, rendering them highly picturesque.

Inventory of Wharton E. Harris, affirmed March 5, 1870, for 3907 Spruce Street with mention of 3805 Locust Street

Inventory and Appraisement of the Goods and Chattels, Rights and Credits, which wre of [Wharton E. Harris] late of Philadelphia, taken and made in conformity with the above deposition:


     Hat Stand                                    30.00
     Paintings and Frames                         25.00
     Stair & entry Carpets & Rods                125.00


     Paintings & Frames                          150.00
     Books                                       225.00


     Carpet                                      100.00
     Curtains                                    200.00
   2 Sofas                                        80.00
  11 Chairs                                       54.00
     Mantle Glass                                 60.00
     Statuary                                    100.00
                                                Forward  $ 1,149.00

                                        Brought Forward  $ 1,149.00

  32 Paintings                                  1,600.00
     Table                                         30.00
     Music Box & Stand                            150.00


  34 Paintings                                   1,700.00
     Engravings                                      2.50
     Window Shades                                   5.00


  13 Chairs                                         39.00
     Carpet                                         60.00
     Curtains                                       10.00
     Sideboard                                      40.00
     Dining Table & Cover                           35.00
     Pier Glass                                     25.00
     Mantle Clock & Ornaments                       18.00
  19 Paintings & Engravings                        150.00


     Sundries                                      100.00
     Fire Proof Safe                                50.00
                                                  Forward  $5,163.00

                                          Brought Forward  $5,163.00


   8 Chairs                                         40.00
     Sideboard                                      75.00
     Dining Table                                   50.00
     Pier do.                                       10.00
     Mantle Clock                                   10.00
     50 oz. Silver @ 1.40                           70.00
     Glassware &c.                                  25.00


     Furniture & generally                          50.00


     Beaureau, Chairs &c.                           25.00
     Carpet, Glassware &c.                          30.00


   2 Bedsteads & Bedding                           100.00
   2 Wardrobes                                     100.00
   1 Beaureau                                       40.00
     Carpet                                         20.00
     Chairs & Stand                                  8.00
                                                  Forward  $5,831.50

                                          Brought Forward  $5,831.50

     Curtains                                       10.00
   7 Paintings                                      50.00


     Carpet                                         20.00
     Beadstead & Bedding                            75.00
     Cub &c.                                        10.00
     Beaureau                                       25.00
     Mantle Glass                                   25.00
     Curtains                                       10.00
     Dressing Table                                  8.00
   4 Pictures                                       20.00


     Carpet                                         10.00
     Curtains                                        5.00
     Towel Rack                                      1.50


     Bedstead & Bedding                            100.00
     Carpet                                         90.00
     Curtains                                       20.00
   7 Chairs                                         40.00
     Lounge                                         20.00
     Beaureau                                       40.00
                                                  Forward  $6,411.00

                                          Brought Forward  $6,411.00

     Washstand                                      10.00
   2 Wardrobes                                     150.00
     Comode                                          5.00
  20 Paintings                                     150.00


     Carpet                                         15.00
     Beaureau & Wardrobe                            25.00
     Chairs                                          5.00
     Washstand                                       3.00
     Bedstead & Bedding                             50.00
     Bureau                                         30.00
     Carpet                                         25.00
     Washstand                                       8.00
     Chairs                                          6.00
     Wardrobe                                       25.00
     Carpets                                        10.00
     Chairs                                          5.00
     Bedstead & Bedding                             25.00
     Beaureau                                       12.00
     Chest of Drawers                                5.00
     Table & Cover                                   3.00
     Carpet                                          8.00
                                                  Forward  $6,986.00

                                          Brought Forward  $6,986.00

     Set of Cottage Furniture                       25.00
     Bedding                                        10.00
     Carpet                                         10.00


     Plants, Flowers &c.                           450.00
     Tools &c.                                      50.00


   2 Horses                                        200.00
   3 Carriages                                     600.00
   1 Sleigh                                         15.00
     Harness                                       300.00
     Blankets &c.                                    5.00
     Fixtures, toos &c.                              5.00

1 Gold Watch & Chain                               150.00

                                          Brought Forward  $8,536,00

Cash                                                       41,340.43

[Pages of Stocks, Bonds, &c.]                              ---------

                                          [Total Estate] $192,553.95