Cliveden Manor

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Cliveden, also known as the Benjamin Chew House, is a historic mansion at 6401 Germantown Avenue in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ghosts & Spirits

Lurking about this historic house are said to be several ghostly Continental soldiers and a headless elderly woman, whose head was severed by one of the soldiers. The headless woman has been seen apparently searching for her lost head.


  Built between 1763 and 1767 by Benjamin Chew, the mansion was inhabited from colonial times by seven generations of the Chew family, until 1972. Chew was head of the Pennsylvania Judiciary System under both Colony and Commonwealth, and Chief Justice of the of the Supreme Court of the Province of Philadelphia. From his legal mentor, Andrew Hamilton, he inherited Hamilton's lifelong clients, the descendants of William Penn. 

For Chew's safety, the Executive Committee of the Continental Congress forcibly removed him and his family from Cliveden, as his close friend, George Washington, was ordering his troops to move towards Philadelphia. British Colonel Musgrave then quickly occupied the sturdily built mansion and fought off the attack from within with muskets and bayonets. Washington's army was repelled and driven back down Germantown Avenue in defeat.

  In 1961, Cliveden was designated a National Historical Landmark, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. It is part of the Colonial Germantown Historic District. The National Trust for Historic Preservation operates Cliveden as a historic house museum  and offers tours from April through December. Significance: 'Cliveden is an outstanding example of Philadelphia Georgian Architecture. Probably designed by Chew and Jacob Knor, a master carpenter, the stone masonry house has particularly fine interior woodwork.' - Historic American Buildings Survey.

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