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1812 Spruce Street History

The Snowden Residence was the home of prominent Philadelphian, Archibald Loudon Snowden, (1837-1912). Snowden, a lauded native Pennsylvanian spent his career serving in the capacity of public service both locally and internationally.

Snowden’s first appointment was to the Mint in Philadelphia where he served as registrar at the behest of his Uncle, the Honorable James Ross Snowden. Snowden’s position at the mint ultimately advanced to that of chief coiner, and he continuously occupied this role until 1877. The following year, President Grant appointed Snowden to serve as postmaster of Philadelphia, where he remained until 1879. Upon conclusion of his service under President Grant, Snowden returned to the mint, and was named superintendent by President Hayes. As both chief coiner and superintendent, Snowden’s services covered a period in the mint’s history that was marked by great advancement, notably improved machinery capable of producing previously unheard of levels accuracy and artistry of the coining process. Snowden served as superintendent until 1885, when a successor who shared the political leanings of then President Cleveland was tapped as his successor.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Snowden organized a regiment and was selected to serve as its lieutenant colonel. As a member of the first city troop of Philadelphia, he was an active participant in several skirmishes leading up to the battle of Gettysburg. Snowden was a member of this command for over fifteen years, passing through the grades until he received the commission of captain. Upon General Grant’s return from his journey around the world in 1879, Snowden was given charge of management of the celebratory parade. Following the great success of Grant’s parade under Snowden’s stewardship, he was appointed by the constitutional commission to organize the great industrial demonstration of 1887.

In 1889, Snowden found himself yet again being selected for service by another United States President. Then President Harrison appointed Snowden, Minister and Resident Counsel General to Greece. Given his success in fulfilling the obligations of his role, Snowden’s mission was elevated to that of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. He was made a Grand Cordon of the Saviour by the King of Greece upon the conclusion of his term in 1891. Following his triumph in Greece, Snowden was appointed United States minister to Spain, where once again, he concluded his two years of service with distinction. Before departing, the Queen regent of Spain conferred upon him the Grand Cordon of Isabella the Catholic, one of the most exalted Spanish orders. His diplomatic service career concluded with a diplomatic posting in Romania. Once again, Snowden was bestowed with yet another laurel of his host nation, the Grand Cordon of the Crown of Romania.

Upon his return home to Philadelphia, Snowden resided at 1812 Spruce Street, and established his business offices at the Land Title Building. Snowden’s final appointment was fittingly a local one, commissioner of Fairmont Park. Snowden was a member of many storied Philadelphia clubs such as: American Philosophical Society, Union League, Philadelphia Club and Sons of the Revolution. He also sat and served as a subject for famed mezzotint engraver John Sartain, also a Philadelphian.

The information contained herein does not constitute a formal offering; while deemed accurate, information is subject to change without notice.