Two Time Periods at Hope Lodge
You will see two time periods represented in the house. Some rooms are shown as the house would have been furnished when it was first built by Samuel Morris, in the Colonial era — 1743 to 1770. Other rooms are shown as the house was lived in by the last private owners, William and Alice Degn, from 1922 to 1953. Although the Colonial period had been over for a century, the Degns decorated with colonial objects to preserve both the objects and the house. This style of furnishing is now known as Colonial Revival. The combination of rooms will allow you to learn the difference between the actual Colonial period and the Colonial Revival period at Hope Lodge.
The Colonial Period
Samuel Morris was born in 1708 and lived until 1770. He was an active Quaker, attending monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings. Morris had a number of business interests, owning grist mills, and partial interests in a brewery, in two trading ships sailing from Philadelphia, and in an iron forge in New Jersey. He was active in local politics serving at different times as Assessor and Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia County.
When, in 1743, Morris decided to build his home, he adopted the most current architectural style of the day in both England and America — Georgian — named for King George I who was reigning at the time the style became popular in Great Britain. Balance and symmetry, both exterior and interior, characterize this style.
An inventory taken when Morris died in 1770 and a partial account book for two of his mills have helped to furnish the 18th century Colonial Samuel Morris rooms in the house. These include the entrance hall, a parlor, the master bedchamber, and service spaces like the head housekeeper's bedchamber, the cellars, and the servants' quarters.
The Colonial Revival Period
William and Alice Degn
William and Alice Degn were married in 1894 and were living in Philadelphia when they bought Hope Lodge in 1922. Their interest in preserving the structure led them to hire Paul Cret, a noted Philadelphia architect, to advise them on restoration. The Degns felt that the house was the perfect setting for their collection of antiques. They were active in their church and in garden clubs.
The Degns often entertained guests at Hope Lodge, and even opened their home for tours. Their love of the house and their interest in its preservation is shown in Mrs. Degn's will, which bequeathed it to the public--"in perpetuity for the enjoyment and education of the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and others, as a museum and permanent exhibit typical of the architecture and furnishings of the Colonial period of America."
Photographs of the house, inventories, and interviews with people who knew the Degns have helped us to place the Degn Collection of fine and decorative arts in its proper settings for the Colonial Revival 20th century period rooms. These rooms include a parlor, the dining room, and a guest bedroom.