Horace Jayne Residence

Philadelphia City, Philadelphia County, PA

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The Dr. Horace Jayne Residence (320 S. 19th St.) was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Text, below, was adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.


The Horace Jayne house stands on one of Philadelphia's most important corner sites, where Delancey street's jog to the north makes this site the termination of the vista at the west end of the 1800 block of Delancey Street. Against its setting of plain red brick, white stone-trimmed Italianate houses, of the 1860's and 70's, the Jayne house stands out like a baroque gem because of the exuberant embellishment of its broad facade.

The Jayne house is significant as the masterfully designed residence, by Philadelphia's preeminent Victorian designer, Frank Furness, for an important Philadelphia physician, Horace Jayne. Further it has added importance as a landmark house in the midst of Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, on preserved and elegant Delancey street. Its later occupants have been of interest as well, for merchant Jacob Lit of the Lit Brothers Department Store chain, was merchant and a philanthropist of note. But, it is an a compelling and highly original architectural design that gives this building its principal place in American cultural history. That place is assured for reasons already noted in the description.

  1. It is a composition that shattered and recombined conventional historicizing revival forms, in a fashion that recreated the colonial revival in a scale that was appropriate to late Victorian life. As such it offers a useful mode of approaching the revival styles, without being overwhelmed by their traditional forms.
  2. Its plan is among the most original of its day, in combining horizontal and vertical axes that spatially unify the building in a manner that anticipates the work of Wright in the next century, and recalls Jefferson's democratic villa, Monticello. In that sense, the house culminates the tradition of American domestic architecture of the 19th century, creating new modes of spatial organization that reflect the democratization of the American household. But, unlike Wright's suburban flow, this is solved in the dense setting of urban Philadelphia.
  3. It accomplishes these important goals in the context of 19th century architectural theory, realistically reflecting the spatial uses, and the various construction materials. The result is an important statement of the goals and possibilities of late Victorian design, extended to the end of the century, and marks the third phase of the Iurness career', succeeding first the Ruskinian Gothic of the 1810's, and second the Richardsonian mode of the 1880's. This suggests that Furness was capable of learning from contemporary taste, and adapting his design to those changes. It is this set of materials, red brick, terra cotta, and colonial detail that will mark the next decade of Furness' work, including the West End Trust, the Merion Cricket Club, and the Arcade Buildings.

The Jayne house is significant as the masterfully designed residence, by The client is of interest as well, for Horace Jayne was a son-in-law of Horace Furness, while continuing the family of Dr. David Jayne. It was David Jayne, the patent medicine magnate, who founded the family fortune, and whose great John McArthur-designed mansion also stood in the Rittenhouse neighborhood. It was out of this Jayne household, that son Horace Jayne, became one of the principal figures in the city's Museum of Art. The next owner, Jacob Lit, was of equal interest, as prominent merchant whose Lit Brothers Department Stores rivaled Wanamakers, Gimbels, and Strawbridges in the late 19th and early 20th century. He apparently purchased the house, at about the same time that he sold the store to City Stores, in 1928.

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