Ask Axios: The people who live in Philadelphia's historic homes
In another edition of Ask Axios, we're answering the question: Does anyone live in Philly's historic homes?
State of play: Caretakers live in 14 of those properties through a partnership between the city and Fairmount Park Conservancy.
- These include Bellaire Manor, the Vernon House, Hatfield House and Stephen Girard Country House.
Between the lines: The caretaker system is a long-standing tradition, dating back to at least the 1930s, said Fairmount Park Conservancy spokesperson Cari Feiler Bender.
How it works: Caretakers have duties they must complete and log on a regular basis.
- They pay rent to live in the houses but get credit for the work they complete taking care them.
- Rent paid by caretakers is funneled back to support the properties.
Plus: Caretakers act as the first line of defense to protect the homes from vandalism, fire, and water damage.
What they're saying: Merle and Cheryl Brubaker tell Axios they've been caretakers for the 18th-century Bellaire Manor in FDR Park for 37 years, where they raised their two daughters.
- "We're like outside the city in the country and yet we're right here in the city," Merle Brubaker said.
- Cheryl Brubaker added that the house, which has modern conveniences, is not haunted by any ghosts.
Be smart: Anyone can sign up to be a caretaker via the conservancy's online form.
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