Powel House is a historic mansion in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Built in 1765, it is named for Samuel Powel, the second of several owners of the house. (Powel holds the distinctions of being both the last colonial and first post-Revolutionary mayor of Philadelphia.) The house functioned as a private residence into the 19th century, but was eventually converted to a warehouse by a Russian-based importing firm. At this point many of its artistic internal architectural features were sold or donated to museums, and by the early 20th century the house, now gutted and abandoned, was on the verge of being condemned. In 1931 it was purchased by the Philadelphia Historical Society, who restored it to its 18th-century layout. The Society has maintained the house ever since in order to preserve evidence of the details of the lives of wealthy Philadelphians in the Revolutionary era.
Powel House in Southern VictoryEdit
When the Confederacy won the War of Secession, Washington became a less secure capital city. This was demonstrated most forcefully in 1881, when the city was shelled by the Confederacy in the course of the Second Mexican War. President James G. Blaine evacuated the government to Philadelphia. Powel House became the new Executive Mansion, and every president of the United States would reside there from then on. The White House remained the de jure presidential residence, but was used by the President only for ceremonial occasions such as Inauguration Day proceedings and state funerals.
During the Second Great War, US President Al Smith was killed in the bombing of Powel House by the Confederate Air Corps. The mansion was rebuilt quickly, and his successor, Charles W. La Follette moved in as a symbolic act to rally the country.