Located on over 20 acres, the central building, Biddle Hall, was designed in 1826 and completed in 1833. Biddle Hall, the Surgeon's residence and the Governor's residence were all designed by architect William Strickland. They are considered some of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the United States.
The Philadelphia Naval Asylum opened in 1834 and served as the first home of the U.S. Naval Academy and as the nation's first retirement home for sailors and marines. One of the uses of the Naval Asylum was for the Philadelphia Naval School, an academy for midshipmen that was a precursor of the United States Naval Academy. Beginning in 1838, midshipmen approaching examinations for promotion were assigned to the school for 8 months of study. William Chauvenet was placed in charge of the school in 1842 and formalized much of the curriculum. When the Naval Academy was formed in 1845, four of the seven faculty members came from the Philadelphia school.
The Philadelphia Naval Asylum changed its name to Naval Home in 1889. This Philadelphia historic landmark site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971. In 1976 the Naval Home relocated to Gulfport, Mississippi and the Philadelphia facility was closed. Toll Brothers purchased the property in 1988.
The original setting of the parade ground in front of Biddle Hall, and the flanking Governor's and Surgeon General's residences have been preserved.
On July 14, 2005, a special to celebrate the grand re-opening of the former United States Naval Home was held. The celebration for these new historic Philadelphia homes and historic Philadelphia condos included speeches from such dignitaries as Dionel Aviles, Under Secretary of the Navy; Admiral Aaron Landes (Ret); and Governor Edward Rendell among others.
Now known as Naval Square, these Center City luxury historic homes are truly one-of-a-kind.