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Powel House


321 S. Fourth Street. Philadelphia, PA


Samuel Powel was the last mayor of Philadelphia under British rule and then the first mayor of independent Philadelphia. He purchased this house in 1769. It was built in the Georgian style in 1765. Third Street was Philadelphia's premier address back then.Governor John Penn lived next door. The Powel property was much larger then and extended to Fourth Street.

In 1965, a respected historian, Edwin Moore, reported seeing General Lafayette (who is buried in Paris) and several other ghosts of Continental Army officers ascending the magnificent mahogany staircase. Moore's wife reported seeing the ghost of a young woman in a beige and lavender gown in the drawing room. I have heard that she saw the woman fanning herself and smiling, and I have also heard that the young woman stamps her foot twice and then disappears.

Others claimed to have seen this lovely young female ghost as well. Although she often speculated, Mrs. Moore was unable to ascertain the identity of the ghost until she was planning an eighteenth century costume ball.

Mrs. Moore wanted an authentic costume for the ball. In the course of her search she came across a woman who had an authentic eighteenth century gown available for her to wear. The woman told her it must be fate, because the gown she had was an actual gown worn by Peggy Shippen (wife of benedict Arnold) at the last party she attended, which had been held at the Powel House!

Mrs. Moore was shocked to see the woman lift a beige and lavender gown, identical to the one she had seen on the ghost, from the storage case. So through a twist of fate the identity of the mystery woman was revealed.

The drawing room that Peggy Shippen appears in is the room that is located immediately to the left as you walk in. She has been sighted in other areas of the house as well, but this is the most likely place to see her.



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