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Historical Building Survey of Philadelphia University

Goldie Paley House
Built in 1955
Architect: Earle Bolton, Jr.




Historical Building Survey of Philadelphia University

Philadelphia & Environs
Textiles and Victorian Trade Card

& Design Center
Goldie Paley House
Hayward Hall
President's House
Ravenhill Mansion
Roxboro House
Scholler Hall
Student Center
White Corners
White House

Earle Bolton, Jr., a Philadelphia-based architect, designed this private residence. The house was originally built for Blanche Paley Levy’s in-laws, Ike and Rita Levy, in a style that Bolton referred to as, “Hollywood ranch”.

The marble-flanked entranceway leads to an expanse of windows that show the forest in the back of the house. All the major rooms, the living room, library and dinning room open onto the next in orderly enfilade. Although, the house is a one-story ranch, the house encompasses over 7,000 square feet with 12-foot ceilings. The rear terrace curves along the home’s entire length, under an undulating roof overhang supported by thin metal columns. Located in this curve is small swimming pool. Hidden behind a louvered door on the terrace is a mirror and faux-bamboo poolside bar. The house included nine bathrooms all decorated in a mirrored, Art-Deco style. The kitchen wing, along with a huge eight-burner stainless steel range, included three staff bedrooms and a painting studio.

In 1965, Goldie Paley acquired the house. At death of her husband, Samuel Paley she moved from her old world mansion in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, to this modern rancher at 4200 Henry Avenue. After Goldie’s death in 1977, her daughter Blanche Paley Levy, donated this house to the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science.

At this time, the College owned various historical textiles, both fabrics and apparel. All these collections were consolidated and located within the new “Goldie Paley Design Center”. Major renovations turned this private home into offices and storage space for textile materials, these renovations included the creation of exhibition space. The dedication of the design center coincided with the opening of the first exhibition entitled “A Fabric Bestiary” on September 12, 1978.

In July of 2001, the “Paley Design Center” was renamed THE DESIGN CENTER AT PHILADELPHIA UNIVERSITY; it’s address remains the Goldie Paley House.