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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape

William Hamilton's Schuylkill River Residence & Pleasure Gardens

 
 
The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, November 29, 2008
1. The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker
Left side of the marker.
Inscription. “Nature, always simple, employs but four materials in composition of her scenes, ground, wood, water, and rocks. The culmination of nature has introduced a fifth species, the building requisite for the accommodation of men.” Thomas Whately, Observations on Modern Gardening (1771).

1775-William Hamilton is born to Andrew Hamilton II, & Mary Till; 1747-Andrew Hamilton dies; 1766-William inherits 300 acres on the west bank of the Schuylkill; 1767-Construction of a Georgian residence with a portico & garden commences; 1776-Declaration of Independence signed in Philadelphia; 1778-British Occupation of Philadelphia; 1784-Hamilton visits England; 1786-Return to the Woodlands & rebuilding of the mansion & gardens; 1792-Carriage house and stable and gate lodges completed; 1813-William Hamilton dies.

Before the development of Woodlands Cemetery in 1840, 600 acres along the Schuylkill River from Market Street to 42nd were owned by William Hamilton, grandson of the noted lawyer and Pennsylvania statesman, Andrew Hamilton. William inherited 300 acres of this land from his grandfather through his father in1766 when he turned 21. He expanded his holdings until his death in 1813. William received a classical education at what became the University of Pennsylvania (then located at 4th Street, south of Arch) and through his family

The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, November 29, 2008
2. The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker
Right side of the marker.
was learned in all the arts. Independently wealthy and a bachelor, he used his interest in architecture, botany and horticulture---cultivated from the English ideal---to develop his estate. He built a stone and stuccoed Georgian mansion with a two-story porch overlooking the Schuylkill. Collecting and propagating trees and plant species from all over the world was one his delights, and for this he build a greenhouse near the mansion. The culmination of the design of the house and landscape occurred after a two-year trip to England between 1784 and 1786.

Upon his return Hamilton rebuilt his house and gardens into the grandest neoclassical “country scat” and pleasure gardens known in America at that time. British design aesthetics influenced him to architecturally integrate new gate houses, a carriage house and stable, and an expanded mansion and greenhouse into a landscape plan. The architecture was influenced by shapes such as ovals, arches, and classical details. The gardens were developed and expanded for pleasure and included a kitchen garden. Thomas Jefferson, who had visited Hamilton’s gardens, wrote in 1806 that they were “the only rival which I have known in America to what may be seen in England.”

Today only Hamilton’s mansion and carriage house and stable stand, but part of the main roadway from the gate house to the mansion remains within

The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, November 29, 2008
3. The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker
Woodlawn Entrance Gate
the cemetery road system. The Ginkgo tree, first planted here by Hamilton, flourishes now across the country. Supported in part by the Challenge Cost Share Program, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Woodlands Trust for Historic Preservation. Designed by Charu Chaudhry.
 
Location. 39° 56.73′ N, 75° 12.228′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker can be reached from Woodland Avenue. Touch for map. The marker is located within Woodlawn Cemetery. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4000 Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19104, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Commodore David Porter (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Woodlands (approx. ¼ mile away); Paul Philippe Cret (approx. ¼ mile away); Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (approx. ¼ mile away); Herman Herzog (approx. 0.4 miles away); Philadelphia General Hospital (approx. half a mile away); The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Penn Relays (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesColonial EraWar, US Revolutionary
 
The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, November 29, 2008
4. The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker
Sylvester Boonaffon, Jr. Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. He is in Section K, Lot 286. The grave GPS coordinates are N38.9473 W75.2048. MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION: BONNAFFON, SYLVESTER, JR. Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company G, 99th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Boydton Plank Road, Va., 27 October 1864. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth:------. Date of issue: 29 September 1893. Citation: Checked the rout and rallied the troops of his command in the face of a terrible fire of musketry; was severely wounded
The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, March 27, 2003
5. The Woodlands-Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape Marker
Thomas Cripps, Civil War Congressonial Medal of Honor Recipient is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. He is in Section F, Lot 654. The grave GPS Coordinates are N39.9471 W76.2035. MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION: CRIPPS, THOMAS Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1837 Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: As captain of a gun on board the U.S.S. Richmond during action against rebel forts and gunboats and with the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Despite damage to his ship and the loss of several men on board as enemy fire raked her decks, Cripps fought his gun with skill and courage throughout a furious 2-hour battle which resulted in the surrender of the rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 18, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 323 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 18, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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