A Unique Tudor Revival Row House

I’ve lived in Philadelphia for over seven years, spending time literally running down each block in Center City, and I’m still discovering new row houses!

A unique tutor row house in Philadelphia.

This is a lovely Tutor Revival row house, which means it looks like something you’d find in a village in England somewhere. And, indeed, this rather unique example, does look like it’s wandered off of a Harry Potter movie set. I have no idea why there is a little brush sign hanging in front but it caught my eye and is just charming!

A unique tutor row house in Philadelphia.

The red windows are a very nice touch. Since the glass is leaded, it adds a bit of color. As you may notice, this house doesn’t match the others on the block and may have been added later. I’d suggest mid-19th Century for the row, which is classic Greek Revival, and this one a little later, maybe around the 1920s, when Tutor Revival was popular.

Coming around to the side, you can see this lovely extension with beautiful patina’ed copper paneling. Such a beautiful home! If only we always could get invited in.

A unique tutor row house in Philadelphia.

A front yard fountain in Middle Village, New York.

Rows of Rows in Middle Village, Queens, New York

Row Houses in Middle Village, New York.

Row Houses in Middle Village, New York.

Originally posted Fall 2007. Photos: Christine Halkiopoulos.

A hamlet isn’t exactly what I think of when I think of New York City but the neighborhood of Middle Village began as just that; a small group of English families who settled together at the mid-point between Williamsburgh and the Jamaica Turnpike in the larger area of Newtown. Middle Village was formally established the same year the Turnpike was opened in 1816.

Early development of Middle Village was reserved for the dead. In 1852, after burials had been outlawed in Manhattan , St. Paul ‘s German Lutheran Church and others, bought several acres of farmland for a cemetery. This land would later become part of the Lutheran Cemetery , which serves as the present day western border. German people began to populate the area and by the end of the Civil War, the population consisted of mostly Germanic people. Another wave of immigrants, this time Italian, would come into the neighborhood in the early 20th century.

In 1879 the Catholic Church designated a cemetery of their own, St. John’s Cemetery . Life in Middle Village, at this time, was centered around the cemeteries and services needed in regards to the deceased and their families such as monuments, flowers, and inns for visiting relatives.

Originally, Middle Village had a environmental border, Juniper Swamp , that prohibited development. However, in 1915 the swamp was filled in to create Juniper Park . Recently, the park underwent reconstruction and now includes a brand new playground and enhanced facilities for court sports such as tennis and handball as well as a roller-hockey rink. The park’s bocce court is a favorite among the older Italian residents of the neighborhood.

A front yard fountain in Middle Village, New York.

A front yard fountain in Middle Village, New York.

Until the first World War, the area still had quite a few working farms. These were replaced shortly after with primarily detached one-family houses. After World War Two, however, the predominant domestic architecture to be built were row houses.

Middle Village has modern row houses which were built in a uniform style in continuous rows. There is access to the back of the homes via alley with ample parking. The typical home was originally a small home with two bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, living room, basement, one bath and a crawl-space attic. We did a story about a bathroom remodel in one of these homes last March. Although the facades haven’t changed too much, residents have done a lot with their space, adding additions to the back and finishing basements. Typically, you can add a dining room and another bedroom in the space you have.

Middle Village enjoys close proximity to Manhattan. The subway, trains M, L, and R, get you into Midtown Manhattan in about an hour, while the express bus takes less than 30 minutes. Because of it’s central location it’s easy to get to nearly all the major highways in New York City. It’s about an hour’s drive to the Long Island beaches or to upstate New York. So residents get the benefits of city living with ample opportunity for getting away.

Juniper Park, Middle Village, New York.

Juniper Park, Middle Village, New York.

Middle Village is a safe, quiet, residential neighborhood. Traditionally a working class area, many residents are New York City police officers and teachers in the public school system. The community association, The Juniper Valley Association, has been long established and is very active in community affairs. It’s also reputed to be one of the best in the country. Their efforts keep the community spirit strong and their advocacy for responsible urban development have saved many historic homes in the area.

Additional Information

Vincent Seyfriend, “Encyclopedia of New York City,” Edited by Kenneth T. Jackson, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1995.

John Roleke, About.com, 2007.

History of Queens County, New York, W.W. Munsell & Company, 188.

Men playing Bacchi Ball in Juniper Park, Middle Village, New York.

Men playing Bacchi Ball in Juniper Park, Middle Village, New York.

Row Houses in Middle Village, New York.

Row Houses in Middle Village, New York.

A window detail on a Row House in Middle Village, NY.

A window detail on a Row House in Middle Village, NY.

Extensions to the backs of Row Houses in Middle Village, NY.

Extensions to the backs of Row Houses in Middle Village, NY.

An English Village in Philadelphia

English Village row houses in Center City, Philadelphia. We creep through very quietly.

English Village row houses in Center City, Philadelphia. We creep through very quietly.

On the west side of Center City Philadelphia, there is a little row, not even a full block long, of beautiful row homes, nestled within a private gate. Walking through is like going back in time, or to the local renassaince faire.

This will be an evolving feature as I can’t find a thing about these row homes on the web. However, we’ll keep searching.

Below are some photos we took on a recent jog through the Rittenhouse neighborhood in Philadelphia.

It was a rainy day so the picture is a little dark. Each row house is unique. This one has a charming balcony.

It was a rainy day so the picture is a little dark. Each row house is unique. This one has a charming balcony.

 

Every house is unique.

Every house is unique.

 

At the end of the row is quite charming.

At the end of the row is quite charming.

 

Another wonderful home in the English Village.

Another wonderful home in the English Village.