John Bartram House, Fifty-fourth Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA
Significance: From the National Historic Landmark nomination: The house and gardens of John Bartram stand today as a living memorial to the pioneer American botanist and serve as an eloquent symbol of the rise of scientific inquiry in the English colonies of the eighteenth century. Bartram, a native Pennsylvanian, born in 1699, was self-taught and a collector and describer of plants rather than a formal scientist, yet he maintained extensive correspondence with botanists abroad and in 1765 was appointed botanist to King George III. On his field trips, he recorded not only botanical specimens, but everything on the colonial scene; wildlife, the people, and the earth itself. Like Franklin and Washington, who were frequent guests at his home on the Schuylkill, Bartram was representative of the best elements in the developing colonies. Possessed of keen intellect and curiosity, he was equally at home with the great figures of his time, and the slaves whom he freed and then employed. The Bartram house, a two and a half story Colonial, built by his own hands in 1731; and the gardens, partly preserved and partly restored, are maintained as a public park and museum by the Fairmount Park Commission in West Philadelphia, at 54th and Eastwick Streets.
Survey number: HABS PA-1132
Building/structure dates: 1731 Initial Construction
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 66000676