The Cliffs

October 11, 2011 | by Lauren Drapala


Currently standing as the burnt-out shell of a once-great residence, The Cliffs is one of Fairmount Park’s incredible mansions that was lost to vandalism.  The home, built for Philadelphia merchant and mapmaker Joshua Fisher  in 1753, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.  While historic photographs reveal decorative woodworking and paneling, arson in 1986 destroyed much of the building’s details.  The house is slowly being reclaimed by the environment surrounding it; all that is left is the masonry shell, covered in graffiti and debris.


About the Author

Lauren Drapala Lauren Drapala works as an architectural conservator at the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust. Since moving to Philadelphia in 2008 to earn her Masters in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, she has been mesmerized by the wealth of architectural resources throughout the city and its surrounding districts. Continuing the research she began in her graduate work, Lauren is currently authoring a book about the 20th century interiors and decorative screens of Robert Winthrop Chanler. Learn more about this project at


  1. Rob Lybeck says:

    Exelent slideshow and story on the Fisher ‘ruins’ by Lauren Drapala.

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