Philadelphia is full of historical markers. Our city is always abuzz with stories that tell about the earliest days of our wonderful country. But, what happens when one of those bits of history gets put into question?
The Tennent House on York Road was supposedly home at one point to William Tennent, one of Philadelphia’s very first educators and the man who established one of the first colleges in all of Pennsylvania. The decades old home needs some restoration. But, one man is going out of his way to put a stop to that saying that the whole thing is a lie.
Did William Tennent really live in the Tennent House? It’s a question that’s bugged historians for some time now. In fact, a study was done in 2004 to determine one way or another whether the house was used as Tennent’s home. That study determined with “90 percent certainty” that it was indeed Tennent’s home. But, that wasn’t enough for Denis Cooke.
He’s convinced Tennent didn’t live in that building and is warning potential investors to be wary of any money they donate to its restoration.
“I would advise caution in your decision to donate to this project,” read a letter Cooke sent to at least one historian. “The historical research associated with this property does not even approach the level of scholarship required to determine whether this structure is the original home.”
Well, as you can imagine this has outraged the folks at the William Tennent House Association. They filed a lawsuit against Cooke claiming defamation and is seeking $50,000 in damages.
It’s too early to tell how this will all play out, but one things for sure…it will go down in history.