It is somewhat of a miracle that Fox Chase Farm has survived. It reflects the changing nature of the countryside and indeed our country.
How it all started
It started as a land grant from William Penn to Lord Stanley; passed to the McVeigh family for over 200 years where it appeared to be a frontier homestead. The Wistar family developed it into a self sufficient farm; then a group who appear to be land developers owned the property between 1888 and 1901 possibly trying to take advantage of the rail transportation which became available; next it became an Institutional Farm owned by Friends Asylum; and finally a Gentlemens' Farm owned by two different gentlemen farmers, Lorimer and Butler. While the farm continued as a Gentlemen's Farm, the city and suburbs grew up around it and most farms disappeared. Now it is used as an Educational Farm serving the city and near suburbs, demonstrating to our urbanized population, children and adults, both the mechanics of a working farm and the interrelationship and interdependence of all living things.
Click on a link below to find out more about the periods indicated.
A Homestead is Established -- 1683-1692.
The Wistar Years -- 1821-1863.
Multiple Owners, But Development is Averted -- 1876-1901.
The Manor House is Transformed -- 1901-1917.
The Butler Years -- 1939-1969.
Opportunities to Visit and Learn -- 1981-1994.
From Private Hands to Public Lands -- 1972-1980.
The Destruction and Rebuilding -- 1997-2001.
Where It's Going
Currently, Jean Wolf, a Historic Preservation Specialist contracted by the farm, has taken steps to have the Fox Chase Farm placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This decision is expected to be made by the end of 2004.