Woodlands, The

40th St. and Woodland Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


The Woodlands

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress



William Hamilton's (1745-1813) house at The Woodlands in Philadelphia stands as one of the greatest American domestic achievements of the eighteenth century. From its beginnings around 1771- which included what was likely the first monumental portico in Philadelphia- to is neoclassical reconstruction between 1786 and 1789, Hamilton's residence at The Woodlands represents nearly every aspect of contemporary genteel culture as individually interpreted by one native North American. As a setting for both formal and informal entertainment, the display of art, and day-to-day living, the house also boasted what were likely the best-finished and most sophisticated service spaces created at the time in Philadelphia, and perhaps in the country as a whole. The house's imported avant-garde neoclassical design presaged the formation of architectural trends in America that would dominate building design and construction for the first decades of the nineteenth century. Beyond its singular importance and survival as a structure, the house at The Woodlands was not conceived in an isolated manner. Its aesthetic and functional qualities were intimately related to, indeed inseparable from, the surround estate. These eighteenth-century pleasure and work landscapes have passed from existence; however, the house and its accompanying stable/carriage house remain as testimony to the grand estate that William Hamilton visualized, built, and rebuilt on the banks of the Schuylkill River over the course of his adult life. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS PA-1125)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 24, 1967
Reference number
Architectural styles
Other architectural type; Federal; Adamesque
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current function
Institutional housing
Period of significance
Significant years
1770; 1788; 1790
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 1
Non-contributing sites: 1

Update Log 

  • June 21, 2012: New Street View added by wdzinc