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“Late 18th Century Middle Class”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Todd House

Todd House
Ranked #163 of 433 things to do in Philadelphia
Attraction details
Memphis, Tennessee
Level Contributor
112 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Late 18th Century Middle Class”
Reviewed 8 September 2012

This is the first of two houses toured and they reflect a contrast in social station. This ranger-led tour is free but reservations must be made at the Independence Visitors Center. The other house is the Bishop William White house, which is just around the corner. The house has been completely restored in a manner consistent with a middle-class family of the 1790s.

This was the home of John & Dolley Todd and their two sons Payne and William. John was a lawyer and one of the rooms on the ground floor is set up as his office. The dining room and kitchen are also on the main floor.

The second floor consists of two smaller bedrooms as well as the much larger master bedroom, which has been fully dressed as it might have been when the Todds lived here.

Disaster struck in 1793, just 3 years into their marriage, when John and 3-month-old William died from the yellow fever epidemic. Dolley was left a widow at age 25. The next year, in this very house, she received a formal introduction to 43-year-old James Madison, the man who would become her husband and eventually the 4th President of the US.

The staircases are very narrow, steep and curving. If mobility is an issue this may not be the tour for you.

The ranger was quite knowledgeable and informative and happily answered whatever questions we had.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
6 Thank Cards-Preds-Fan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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19 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Stoneham, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
333 reviews
170 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 271 helpful votes
“Glad they restored it”
Reviewed 16 May 2012

At some point, the first floor of the Todd house had become a restaurant. The tour guide showed us a picture of it and the adjacent buildings. They all had businesses on the first floor. All the buildings have now been restored to what they looked like in the late 18th century. It's amazing to see what this neighborhood has been transformed back to. Thoroughly enjoyed the tour of this house and the White house. The Parks department certainly has some great guides.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank bcnett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Todd house”
Reviewed 26 January 2012

Took the tour. Disappointed to find out that it was completely rebuilt to look like it used to

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
Thank OpheliaNewJersey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A national treasure”
Reviewed 25 January 2012

Everyone should make a point to stop at the Todd house to learn some little known American history and a "behind the scenes" story of one of our greatest first ladies!

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank ChefStaib
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
65 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Dolley Madison's home before she was Dolley Madison”
Reviewed 23 November 2011

If you're a history geek, you'll love this tour. You can only get in if you have reserved a free ticket at the Independence Visitors Center, and tours fill up fast, so make that a priority. As the other reviewers have said, the house gives you such a great view of the life of the young wife and mother before the yellow fever epidemic changed her world. I had just read the young adult novel, Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson. The images from that book traveled with me through the streets of Philadelphia, and into the Todd House.
The nearby Bishop White house was an added attraction, full of interesting facts and anecdotes. The house is beautifully preserved and marks the difference in social status between Mr. Todd and Bishop White. Highly recommended.
BTW - lots of narrow stairs

Visited March 2011
Helpful?
7 Thank 2Historybuffs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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