Cedar Grove shows remarkable innovations for the time through an indoor oven and a hot-water boiler. See how these domestic features combine with a style of practical simplicity and refined elegance.
About Cedar Grove
Learn about informal country living and hear how each descendant of the family made this house a home during their time of continued occupancy. This farmhouse served as the summer residence for five generations of the Coates, Paschall and Morris families of Philadelphia. Built in 1748-50 by the wealthy widow Elizabeth Coates Paschall, the original small home of grey native stone received numerous additions over the years, with rooms which illustrate the evolving styles of the family as seen through their furnishings. They enjoyed this lovely summer home until 1888, when increased industrialization made it no longer a peaceful country retreat. They then built a large county home in Chestnut Hill and developed its gardens into what is today the Morris Arboretum. Originally located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, Cedar Grove was moved to Fairmount Park, stone by stone, in 1926-28.
Celebrating country living, Cedar Grove has no central hall, and the downstairs rooms all have access to the piazza. The original building, in Wissahickon schist stone, consisted of only the present dining room and upper bedchambers. As succeeding generations of the family lived here, additions were made to the home, including the parlor, the kitchen and the third floor. This floor incorporated the original gable roof into what is now a gambrel or “broken pitch” roof. And later the porch was built, providing the house with its present appearance.
Interior and Furnishings
Grove contains an extensive collection of furniture and the decorative
arts, with objects in the home original to the family
and the house. This provides the rare opportunity for visitors to see these materials
displayed in a historic context. The documentation that the
family kept includes the medicinal recipe book of the house founder,
healer Elizabeth Coates Paschall, and the 1809 wedding dress and
trousseau receipts of Lydia Poultney Thompson. Cedar Grove has the stories of 150 years of
day-to-day living—the moments of happiness and those of struggle--as told through these treasured items.
The home includes innovative domestic details, such as an unusual two-sided wall of closets, an indoor bake oven and a hot-water boiler in the kitchen. The style reflects a practical simplicity from the long line of Quakers who lived here; but the furniture has an elegance that is anything but plain. See exceptional examples of early Pennsylvania furniture, including Baroque, Rococo and Federal styles. The evolution of the family’s taste over the years is illustrated through objects displayed, including items from a wedding dowry in 1809, a dressing table, and a rare triple chest circa 1750.
The house is nestled in a wooded glen known as Sweet Briar Vale, for its neighbor Sweetbriar Mansion, located five minutes away. Philadelphia Museum Guide volunteers maintain a traditional colonial herb garden as part of the interpretation of the site. Cedar Grove is unusual in that it was moved from its original location in the Frankford section of Philadelphia to the western part of Fairmount Park in the early 20th century.
The Charm Symbol
Each of the Charms houses is represented individually in the logo. These key icons are based on the unique qualities of each home --- here the key represents the V shape center of the windows found at Cedar Grove.
For more information regarding Cedar Grove on the Philadelphia Museum of Art's website click here.