The Kosciuszko House

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The house is located on the corner of 3rd and Pine Streets
in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo taken in October of 1998)

Cheering crowds and booming cannon salutes greeted General Thaddeus Kosciuszko on his arrival to Philadelphia in August, 1797. Exiled from his beloved Poland, his only wish was to return to his "second country." Though his many American friends urged him to make a new life and home in the United States, Kosciuszko stayed here less than a year. Turbulent events would draw the General back to Europe in May, 1798.

Instructed to find "a dwelling as small, as remote, and as cheap" as possible, Kosciuszko's secretary, Julian Niemcewicz, chose Mrs. Ann Relf's boarding house in Society Hill (on the corner of 3rd and Pine Streets).

Still suffering from battle wounds received during the Polish Insurrection, Kosciuszko rarely left his bedchamber. He amused himself through reading, hobbies, and entertaining visitors. Persons of all backgrounds were welcomed here by Kosciuszko. For some visitors, exciting discoveries in science, discussions about social reforms, and the fierce American political scene were the topics of the day. Others stopped by to share a relaxing game of chess or whist. Young ladies enjoyed having their portraits painted by the General.

For five months this room was Kosciuszko's home. Recreated from an inventory found in Thomas Jefferson's personal papers, the room reflects Kosciuszko's political and personal interests, as well as his vagabond lifestyle. The objects in the room are period pieces similar to those owned by Kosciuszko.

For many years the house stood in derelict condition until its significance was recognized by Edward Pinkowski, Philadelphia's preeminent Polish-American historian. Supported by Polish-American organizations and individuals who believed in keeping the General's memory alive, he presented his information before the United States Congress and the house became a site administered by the National Park Service. After renovation, it opened in 1976 as a museum devoted to Kosciuszko.