Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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West of Broad
A collection of articles about the area west of Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Particular Sights to See:Center City
Taxi drivers tell tourists that Center City is a "shining city on a hill". During the Industrial Era, the city almost urbanized out to the county line, and then retreated. Right now, the urban center is surrounded by a semi-deserted ring of former factories.

Touring Philadelphia's Western Regions
Philadelpia County had two hundred farms in 1950, but is now thickly settled in all directions. Western regions along the Schuylkill are still spread out somewhat; with many historic estates.

Military Philadelphia

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Mrs. Meade's House

Union General
George Gordon Meade

General George Gordon Meade, the hero of Gettysburg, lived in quite an elegant house during the six years (1866-72) he was a Commissioner of Fairmount Park. The house (at 19th and Delancey) has "MEADE" carved over the stately entrance facing 19th Street, and while the neighborhood has run down somewhat, it was obviously once an imposing mansion. The house belonged to Mrs. Meade. From that, you might suppose that the General had married a rich woman, but that would be wrong.

When General Lee was advancing on Gettysburg, it was widely supposed that his goal was to conquer Philadelphia, the Arsenal of the North. The town was in a panic, built some forts on the Schuylkill to defend itself, and later lionized the hometown hero who had saved them. Mrs. Meade was living at the time in a modest little place, and the town fathers took up a collection to buy General Meade a proper house.

A delegation of officials traveled down to Virginia to present him with their gift of gratitude, but Meade would have none of it. He was only doing his duty, and could not consider for a moment accepting major gifts for his soldiering. No, he was very sorry, he had to decline.

So the delegation came home, all a fluster. Someone then had the idea of offering the house to Mrs. Meade. And when they visited her, she promptly said "Sure."

Originally published: Thursday, August 28, 1997; most-recently modified: Friday, May 24, 2019

Rundown neighborhood? 19th and Delancey? That house is worth about $3 or $4 million.
Posted by: anonymous   |   May 26, 2013 8:12 PM
Very interesting to a History buff like me who likes to join the phone 609-488-5123 email is and home at 24 Ann Court; Barnegat, NJ 08005
Posted by: Richard Jacunski   |   Jan 17, 2011 3:35 PM
I was surprised to see such a plan house for a Generals wife, compared with other General's. Also with all the the other house's of its time with more character. However I did DIG the "MEADE" carved over the doorway
Posted by: Johnny Irish   |   Oct 6, 2009 7:34 AM
The house is NOT at 1836 South 19th Street. It is at the SE corner of Delancey Place and 19th Street. The doorway with the Meade name carved in tht lintel is on the 19th Street side.
Posted by: Bob Collins   |   Nov 5, 2008 11:41 AM
Thanks for the bouquet, and thanks for including your own website URL.I've been searching for a way to include the comments of others, while preserving a trail to the source. It seems to me that Wikipedia goes too far in erasing the trail to the author.
Posted by: George Fisher   |   Aug 20, 2007 5:00 PM
A great and true story about the modest hero of Gettysburg.

Michael I. Wunsch

General Meade Society of Philadelphia, Inc.
Posted by: Michael I. Wunsch   |   Aug 16, 2007 10:52 PM