An item of interest in girards correspondence of 1807

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“An item of interest in Girard’s correspondence of 1807 is the purchase from John Dunlap of the block of ground between Market and Chestnut Streets, Eleventh and Twelfth Streets. It was on this tract that Mr. Girard originally intended to locate the Girard College. The cost was one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). This block, exclusive of improvements, is now worth more than six million dollars ($6,000,000), and earned in the year 1909, in addition to interest on the cost of the improvements, nearly two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) net, which is more than enough to support the College as originally planned by Mr. Girard.” 23 Between 1815 and his death, he purchased an accumulation of nearly 200,000 acres and many buildings. During the last nine months of his life, he purchased two houses on Walnut Street, sixty acres in the Neck, ground on Spruce Street, a house on 6th Street, houses on Coates and John Streets, houses on 3rd. Street, a house in the Neck fronting on the Schuykill, stores on the wharves and docks, and ground in Schuykill County. 24 When he died, he owned the choicest land and buildings throughout old Philadelphia (now Society Hill). Some properties were near 2nd and Spruce Streets, along Chestnut Street, Walnut Street, the block surrounded by 11th and 12th Market and Chestnut Streets, Front and Delaware, 5th Street, Water Street, 2nd and Delancy Streets, 3rd. and Philip Streets, and the area of today's Penn's Landing. His properties in the Neck (South Philadelphia), included 583 acres of farmland and several tenements. (See map in the appendix.) Outside Philadelphia, he owned 120,000 acres in Ouachita County, Louisiana, five thousand acres in Hart County, Kentucky, 25 and 5881 acres near Erie, Pennsylvania. The latter he purchased for only $1,383, at a sheriff sale in 1825. Typical rent from the Society Hill properties ranged between $1,600 and $3,000 per year, a large sum when you consider that most people worked for a few dollars per month. A local newspaper reported, "He took most pleasure in adding house to house, lot to lot, until he could count his squares of buildings, and found it impossible to count the number of deeds, parchments and warrants." He owned prime property and buildings that generated enough revenue to allow his estate to continue growing long after his death. George Morgan's book The City Of Firsts, A Complete History of Philadelphia, reported that in 1926, Girard's property in the city, excluding Girard 11
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College, was assessed at $20 million. Included were seven properties at 3rd. and Chestnut Streets including the Girard Bank and the Stock Exchange, address 23, 25, and 27 on South 11th Street, five stores at 119 North 8th Street, nine houses at 2nd and Spruce Streets, the entire block between 11th and 12th and Market to Chestnut Streets, 28 warehouses and piers near Front and Market Streets, eleven dwellings at 25th and Poplar Streets, The Girard Building, The Mariner and Merchants Building, and The Lafayette Building, all in downtown Philadelphia.
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  • Fall '19
  • Test, Second Bank of the United States, Stephen Girard, Marie Antoinette Girard

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