Powel House is a historic mansion in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. This elegant Georgian brick mansion was built in 1765 by merchant and shipmaster Charles Stedman. When Stedman fell on financial difficulties (eventually winding up in debtors' prison), the house was purchased for £3,150 on August 2, 1769 by Samuel Powel, who served as the last mayor of Philadelphia under British rule and became the city's first mayor after the Revolution.
During the early 20th century, the house served as a warehouse and office for a business that imported and exported Russian and Siberian horse hair and bristles. The owners had sold much of the interior architectural detail to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Little more than a shell, the building was slated for demolition, with the site planned to be used for a parking lot. After learning of the imminent demolition, Frances Wister formed The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks and raised sufficient funds to purchase the property in 1931. Over the next decade, Wister and the Society restored the house to its appearance during Powel's residency, interpreting the daily lives of wealthy Philadelphians at the time of the American Revolution.
Today, the rich history of the Powel House may be seen in its decorative arts collection, its portraits of Powels and Willings, and its formal, walled garden so typical of Colonial Philadelphia. Its beautiful entryway, ballroom with bas-relief plasterwork, and mahogany wainscoting give the house its reputation as perhaps America's finest existing Georgian Colonial townhouse.