Historic Structures

Reynolds-Morris House, Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Date added: September 7, 2018 Categories: Pennsylvania House

The house was built in 1786 by John Reynolds, a brickmaker, and William Reynolds, a physician, on a plot of ground which was far on the outskirts of the developed city. All other major townhouses of the period were located around Second and Third Streets in the finer residential section. It is likely that John Reynolds was architect and builder of the house. Later in the economic slump which followed the Revolutionary War, he overextended himself in real estate speculation and lost his house in 1796 to Ann Dunkin at a sheriff's sale. In 1817 the house was resold to Luke Wistar Morris, son of Captain Samuel Morris, founder of Philadelphia First City Troop. He was a brewer and his house became a center of social life for the city.

Seven generations of Morrises lived in the house, building several rear additions in keeping with the original design of the building and not evident from the street facade. In 1914 the Morrises tore down two adjoining houses built in the 19th century for members of the family and restored the north and south sides of the house to their original appearance. The interior of the house was restored during the ownership of Effingham B. Morris, who died in 1955, and completed in the early 1960s when the house was owned by A. W. Ayer and Company. They used it as a guest house until 1968 when it was sold again as a private family residence.