6043 Germantown Avenue
Shippen-Blair House (The Laurens)
Thomas H. Shoemaker Collection, folios 9, 17 and 32
Historical Society of Pennsylvania

folio 17: "Doorway from Bensil House. Now at no 6043 Germantown Ave." (photograph).

Also included are manuscript text and two other photographic images:

Manuscript text, dated 1890:

"Burkhard's Boarding House"

"This house, known of latter years as 'Burkhard's' from the fact that Miss Mary Burkhard has for about 30 years past had a boarding house there, is owned by Geo. W. Carpenter's estate. Just when the house was built is uncertain but it was prior to the Revolution as, during the battle of Germantown some of the bullets found their way into one of the rooms, and the print, in blood, of a man's foot for a long time remained on the floor.

"Dr. William Shippen purchased the property in 1775, and his son- in-law, Rev. Dr. Blair, occupied it. He aided in founding the First Presbyterian Church, though never its pastor. Services were held in this house in the beginning.

"Afterward the Manual Labor School occupied it under the charge of Rev. George Junkin. A year's experimenting proved it a failure in Gtn., and a more suitable location was looked for, the result being the founding of Lafayette College at Easton in 1826. In 1832 Dr. Junkin was elected its President.

"In 1832 the house passed into the possession of Jas. Ogills; his executor, the same year, sold it to Sam'l Bucknell, who, in turn sold to W. E. & Zenas Wells. Later it passed into the hands of Col. Alexander and was run by him as a branch of his city hotel and known as 'Our House.' Col. Farlan became the owner in 1850 & in 1851 sold to Charlotte Cushman with 60 acres more belonging to Dr. Philip S. Physic. She opened up many of the streets, her agent being Squire Robt. Thomas. I presume it was from her G.H. Carpenter purchased.

"Watson says it was occupied by the celebrated Dr. Witt who came to Germantown in 1704 and died in 1765 at age 95 years, but I think his house was below where Dr. Deever now is. The house was also graced by the presence of Mrs. Geo. Washington, as a visitor, when the General was located here, and had other celebrities in the shape of ghosts, such as soldiers with swords who stood around at night to the terror of the tenant. Dr. Shippen was buried from here and it was a famous funeral.

"Dr. Witt built the first 3 story house in Gtn. & if this was his, it is entitled to that honor. Thompson Westcott chap. 422 says The first 3 story house built in Germantown was for Dr. Witt, afterward occupied by Dr. Shippen & then by the Rev. Dr. Sam'l Blair. It was nearly opposite the old house of John George Knorr on the Main st. In 1843 it belonged to Chas. Alexander. In 1859 it was a boarding house & was called Congress Hall, and at another period known as the Mansion. See Tel Chap 15."

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