Preservation Advocacy

Levy-Leas Mansion, 40th & Pine St:
  History, Designation & Zoning
   Explore neighborhood (photos)
  An offer, but what will be saved?
  Contact the Neighbors

Related Links-History:
Why the John P. Levy's House is Important  Hidden City
Samuel Sloan and the Emerging Suburb

Related Links-City Planning:
Plan for West Philadelphia, 1995
Penn's pledge of Responsible Development 

Other Philadelphia Historic Properties In Danger:
Boyd Theatre Under Demolition Friends of the Boyd
Sloan designed church on 40th Street Demolished Hidden City
Preservation Alliance's Advocacy Page:
- Church of the Assumption (Spring Garden Street)
- Dilworth house (6th Street, Society Hill)
- Cathedral's Parish Houses, now demolished (38th and Chestnut)
Pearson designed house lost to the relocated Campus Inn Hotel project.
  ( part 4 of Hidden City's report on "A Broken System")

The Levy-Leas Mansion

SE View of Levy-Leas House 400
                S 40th St

40th and Pine Streets, Philadelphia.

The last surviving 40th Street Mansion, 400 S. 40th Street, is in two National Register Districts, adjacent to a third, and a stone's throw from the Woodland Cemetery, a National Register Landmark. In 1973 it was added to Philadelphia's Historic Register, joining the previously certified neighboring properties on the 4000 block of Pine Street.  (map)

Advertised in 1853 as an  "Italian Cottage" designed by Samuel Sloan, it was amongst the first houses suburban houses built on speculation in the newly planned "Western Portion of Hamilton."  First purchased by Jacob Levy, a partner in a Kennsington ship building firm, it was remodelled around 1900 by David Porter Leas into a more colonial revival style.  As a corner property of the 4000 block of Pine Street it forms a gateway to an incredibly intact historic neighborhood.

But the Philadelphia Historical Commission approved demolition based on the owner's claim of  "financial hardship".   On April 22 the Commonwealth Court upheld the Historical Commission's  decision to allow demolition based on their interpretation of financial hardship.  After careful consideration we have decided not to continue legal appeals to overturn the hardship claim. The decision to save or demolish the historic mansion at 40th and Pine is now entirely in the hands of the University of Pennsylvania.   We do not take this decision lightly;  at the same time, we will continue to fight the excessive zoning variances in our determination to protect the character of our historic neighborhood. 
More under News at our on-line petition.
Adjoining Pine Street properties are also on Philadelphia and National Historic Registers.

House still quite recognizeable in spite of 1960s addition.  Look over the top of the 1960s addition.
Stair tower was the most visually unfortunate addition (1975). However, all of the walls of the house itself  survive intact.   Take a look around the back of the tower
Some Interior photos in "If these Walls Could Talk"
34th St Magazine Cover
In the News:
Tie Decision in the First Appeal (Feb 22, 2013)
If These Walls Could Talk: Deconstructing History
34th Street Magazine
(Sept 20, 2012)
Penn's lawyers attempt to deny community's right to appealPlanphilly
Philadelphia Historical Commission Lacks Spine? 
Philadelphia Daily News/
(July 3, 2012)
Community Reaction to 'Azalea Gardens'
UC Review
, October 19, 2011
Contact Us!
We'll forward your e-mail to the appropriate person within the Pine Street Neighbors and Woodland Terrace Homeowner's Association.