It is little wonder that back in Colonial days, and on after the Revolution, the hills shouldering out above both banks of the winding Schuylkill were favored spots for wealthy Philadelphians on which to build their country seats and summer homes. The sites were beautiful and cool, and although the going was bad between there and town, with a barouche and pair you could drive out from Independence Hall in less than an hour.
Mount Pleasant built it in 1761 for John Macpherson was lavish with the money he made from privateering, and expense was no object. Then, too, Philadelphia artisans were men of extraordinary taste and talent, and the house inside and out is a monument to their skill: boldly conceived and brilliantly executed. In 1779 it passed from Macpherson to Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold, at that time the American commander at Philadelphia, who bought it for his bride, the famous beauty, Peggy Shippen. He never had a chance to occupy it.
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