• Enter your email address to subscribe to "History Notes" and receive an email when there's a new article.

    Join 571 other followers


  • Copies of A Brief History of Nether Providence are on sale at Furness Library and the Nether Providence Township Building.
  • Categories

  • Idea for an Article? Query about NP History?

    Send an email to
    info@nphistory.org.

Colonial Christmas Open House

LeiperHouse

You’re invited to The Friends of the Thomas Leiper House’s
annual holiday celebration,

Sunday, December 18th from 1:00 until 5:00 pm.

521 Avondale Road, Wallingford

HSP Surveys Collection

Von Byre DiaryThe Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s “Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories” seeks to ferret out the hidden, but often important, archival collections held by the many small, primarily volunteer-run historical organizations in the five county Philadelphia area.

Project Surveyors recently visited the Leiper House to view the Nether Providence Historical Society’s collection.

They posted an account of what they found on the HSP’s blog, Archival Adventures in Small Repositories.

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of World War I, so they focused their post on the collection of materials we hold related to the Byre family. Von Byre served in WWI and kept a journal of his June 1918 voyage to Europe on a troop ship.

Friends of Thomas

FrontEntryBuilt by Philadelphia merchant Thomas Leiper (1745 – 1825) the mansion sits above Crum Creek on his summer estate, Strath Haven, named for Leiper’s birth place in Strathaven, Scotland.

The house was scheduled for demolition to make way for the Mid-County Expressway (I-476). Through the joint efforts of interested citizens and Nether Providence Township, the expressway was re-routed and the historic house was saved. The house is furnished with circa 1800 antiques, including some Leiper family pieces. Its four remaining outbuildings are restored. Displays reflect Mr. Leiper’s prominence in manufacture, transportation, and politics in the development of the area, the state, and the nation.

The 1785 house is a fine example of Federal Period architecture and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Friends of the Thomas Leiper House, a separate organization from Nether Providence Historical Society, together with Nether Providence Township, maintain the house and its outbuildings.

The Friends recently sent out their annual appeal for donations. The Township covers the bulk of the maintenance, but it is up to the Friends to fund the maintenance of the collection, to maintain a staff of volunteers to open the house for tours and other programs, and to chip in on larger projects.

Attached is the Friends membership form. Will you help with the preservation of this community treasure? Download the membership form and send in your contribution.

New Acquisitions in the Leiper House Collection

Thomas Leiper Kane (1822 – 1883) was an American attorney, abolitionist, and military officer who served as a Union Army colonel and general of volunteers in the Civil War. He received a brevet promotion to major general for gallantry at the Battle of Gettysburg. Kane was born in Philadelphia, to John Kintzing Kane, a U.S. district judge, and Jane Duval Leiper. His brother was naval officer, physician, and explorer Elisha Kent Kane.

Thomas Leiper Kane (1822 – 1883) was an American attorney, abolitionist, and military officer who served as a Union Army colonel and general of volunteers in the Civil War. He received a brevet promotion to major general for gallantry at the Battle of Gettysburg. Kane was born in Philadelphia, to John Kintzing Kane, a U.S. district judge, and Jane Duval Leiper. His brother was naval officer, physician, and explorer Elisha Kent Kane.

The Leiper House will open for the season on Saturday, April 27th and will be open for tours each Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 until 4:00. Be sure to visit and see two recent acquisitions to the collection.

Mr. William Archard donated a large painting of the Leiper barn that once stood in the location of the parking lot. The picture was painted by Valerie Morrison in 1972, about two months before the barn was razed for construction of the Blue Route. It hangs in the middle bedroom, where the barn would have been visible from the windows.

In the fall, Mr. Thomas Africa of Warren, Pennsylvania, donated a china punch bowl that likely belonged to Thomas and Elizabeth Leiper. The bowl is decorated with the monogram of the Leiper’s son, William. William inherited it and other items from his parents and, having never married, left them to his nephews and nieces. A large painting of Avondale Village was left to Thomas Leiper Kane. Mr. Africa’s mother, a Kane descendant, left the painting to the Leiper House several years ago, as a bequest of her will. When the punch bowl was discovered, Mr. Africa kindly donated it as well. It now sits on the dining room table.

Another new display, courtesy of the efforts of Eagle Scout Dan Lordan, features the Leiper House’s antique tool collection.

Stop in for a tour!

 

 

In the News…One Hundred Years Ago Today

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

In the January 17, 1913 issue of the Chester Times, Mr. Leiper ran an ad for his quarries – urging readers to “build, don’t rent.” You could reach the company by phoning “36-A” if you had a phone (fewer than 10% of households did).

Among that day’s advertisements was one for a dentist, accompanied by a macabre illustration, offering to pull teeth for free! Myers & Brothers apparently earned their living on the replacements: “Good teeth” for $5 and “Gold crowns” for $3. Using an inflation calculator, the buying power of $5 in 1913 would be worth $116 now – quite a bargain for all that dental work! Today, The Myers’ building at 514 Market Street (Avenue of the States) in Chester appears to be unoccupied on the upper floors. The first floor is Lou’s Jewelry and Pawn Shop.

Colonial Christmas Open House

Thomas Leiper HouseThis Sunday, December 16th marks the 30th annual Colonial Christmas Open House at Nether Providence’s Thomas Leiper House. Visit between 1:00 and 5:00 pm to tour rooms decorated for the holidays by local garden clubs: Swarthmore Garden Club, Country Gardeners, Rose Tree Gardeners, Springfield Garden Club, and Providence Garden Club.

Make a stop in the dining room for a piece of birthday cake in honor of Mr. Leiper’s 267th birthday. Additional refreshments will be served, and the repast will be enjoyed with a backdrop of classical guitar music provided by Strath Haven High School student Dean Maola.

The party is free and open to the public (donations for the upkeep of the historic house are always appreciated). After this weekend, the house, located at 521 Avondale Road in Wallingford, will close for the winter with tours resuming in spring.