Simpson House “Olde Main Building”
Heritage Landmark of The United Methodist Church
Simpson House, established in 1865, is the oldest Continuing Care Retirement Community in the world, historically related to the United Methodist Church. Mrs. Jane Henry, widow of a Philadelphia Methodist minister had the dream of a home for elderly persons with limited resources.
She approached Bishop and Mrs. Matthew Simpson who were leaders in their time. The Bishop was very well known as a religious leader and was also an advisor to President Abraham Lincoln. Mrs. Simpson was most concerned about the elderly, children, and the sick.
The Simpsons and Mrs. Henry oversaw the creation of the Ladies United Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the City of Philadelphia on June 14, 1865. This industrious group of women created the Methodist Episcopal Home for the Aged. The name had several different forms over the years and was renamed Simpson House in 1972.
The community was initially opened in a rented house in Philadelphia and it eventually moved to the edge of the city. The beloved Olde Main Building, designed in the English Gothic style, was constructed of granite from Port Deposit, Maryland, and dedicated in 1899. The Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Rowe, in a presentation to retired clergy and spouses at Simpson House on September 16, 2010, stated that; “Simpson House is the mother home of our kind.”
Points of Interest: The building was designated as being among the notable architecture in Philadelphia by The Philadelphia Museum of Art in cooperation with The Philadelphia Chapter of The American Institute of Architects. On the grounds is a notable statue of Bishop Matthew Simpson which was the work of Clark Mills.
Special events: Anniversary Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of May each year.
Area Attractions: Simpson House is approximately six miles from Independence Hall and The Liberty Bell which are in one of the most historic square miles in the Nation. Other Heritage Landmarks in the annual conference are Albright Chapel, Boehm's Chapel, Historic St. George's United Methodist Church, and Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church.
To visit: Complete the “Contact Us” form letting us know of your interests in arranging a visit as well as the best way to contact you. Go to https://www.simpsonhouse.org/contact/ or call 215-878-3600.
Location: Within the boundaries of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, in the city of Philadelphia. The street address is 2101 Belmont Avenue. The location is at the intersection of Belmont Avenue, Monument Road and Edgely Drive.
Food and lodging: There are two hotels on City Line Avenue, The Holiday Inn and the Sheraton Hotel.
Directions: Located at the intersection of Belmont Avenue, Monument Road and Edgely Drive.
Center City Philadelphia: Take the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) west to Montgomery Drive exit. Turn left off the ramp onto Montgomery Drive. Turn right at the light at Belmont Avenue. Go through two lights, and immediately after the 2nd light turn right onto Edgely Drive. The Olde Maine entrance is on your left, parking available on either side of Edgely Drive, including grassy area.
From the Pennsylvania Turnpike or the Blue Route (I-476): Connect with the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) eastbound. Exit at City Avenue (Route 1 South). At the light at Monument Road turn left onto Monument Road. At the light at Belmont Avenue turn left onto Belmont, and take an immediate left onto Edgely Drive.
For further information: Simpson House, 2101 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131-1628; 215-878-3600; https://www.simpsonhouse.org/contact/.
To learn more about United Methodist history in this area:
Russell E. Richey, Kenneth E. Rowe, Jean Miller Schmidt, American Methodism: A Compact History (Nashville, TN, 2012)
Charles W. Ferguson, Organizing to Beat the Devil; Methodists and the Making of America (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971).
Jesse Lee, A Short History of the Methodists (Rutland, VT: Academy Books, 1974; originally published in 1810).