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Penn History

“Carriage House” at the Rear of 3905 Spruce Street A Brief History

By Mark Frazier Lloyd, August 2000

Introduction

The mansion house at 3905 Spruce Street now occupied by WXPN has been associated with the University of Pennsylvania since its purchase by transportation baron Joseph D. Potts in 1875. For more than forty years the “Carriage House” at the rear of the property served as a support facility for many of the functions of the International House of Philadelphia, which purchased the Potts mansion in 1917 and continued on that site until 1959. The collections of the University Archives and Records Center at the University of Pennsylvania, augmented by information found in the collections of the Philadelphia City Archives and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, provide the factual basis for the account which follows below in seven sections:

Joseph D. Potts, 1880
Part I: Potts Family, Penn, and the Property at 3905 Spruce Street, 1875-1917
International students at a social gathering at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alpheus Waldo Stevenson
Part II: International House, Early Years, 1911-1922
Potts mansion, International House, 3905 Spruce St. 1918
Part III: Carriage House “Doubles” in Size, 1922-1943
Acacia Fraternity, Franklin Chapter, insignia
Part IV: Franklin Chapter of Acacia Fraternity, 1906-c. 1965
International House, 1973
Part V: International House Independent of the Christian Association, 1943-1960
Potts mansion, International House, 3905 Spruce St. 1918
Part VI: Carriage House Takes a Life of its Own, 1959-1960
Potts mansion, International House, 3905 Spruce St. 1918
Part VII: Carriage House in Insurance Surveys, 1925-1960