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Defining 'Philadelphia Style' in Greater Boston

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On Thursday, we told you about a Somerville triple-decker marketing itself as a "spacious Philadelphia-style, three-family home," and asked the Philly natives/former residents out there to please, please, please tell us what that might mean. We got quite a few responses in our comments section as well as over the always-discreet Curbed Boston Tipline.

The following came over the tipline, in fact, and we think it explains things nicely:

I've lived around Philly and Boston most of my life, and been involved in housing real estate and construction. I've never heard of a Philly style 3 family; but I've always known of a Philadelphia style 2 family. It's a (owner) duplex over a flat, with separate front doors side-by-side on the front porch. There are many in Boston area, especially in Somerville and other communities of the same age. Usually they have gable roofs, rather than flat roofs. The key is the separate front doors; triple deckers have a shared front door and common stairs. If this building has separate front doors (and stairs) for the 3 units, then I guess it could be a Philly style 3 decker, but it would be pretty unusual, and likely a recent modification. We'll keep an eye out for "Chicago style" next. There's already been "New York style."
· There's 'Philadelphia Style' Now in Greater Boston [Curbed Boston]
· Meet the Latest Boston Building w/ 'New York Style' [Curbed Boston]