Published: Monday, 02 May 2016 20:14
West Chester, PA, May 2, 2016
FRENCH & PICKERING CREEKS CONSERVATION TRUST SELLING OFF EASEMENT CROWN JEWEL
In December 2015, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust acquired the 553-acre Warwick Furnace Farm after working for a year to preserve the historic and environmentally sensitive area. The perpetual conservation easement protects a major source of drinking water for millions of people the Philadelphia region as well as sensitive habitat and historic sites. The Trust is now offering the 50-acre Warwick Furnace Farm - the crown jewel of the estate - on the market for $3.45 million.
“It is French & Pickering’s largest conservation project in its 48 year history,” said Executive Director Andy Pitz at the time of the acquisition.
The stunning Warwick Furnace Farm in Glenmoore, PA, is one of the most historically and architecturally significant properties in Chester County. The property was last offered for sale in 1927, when the renowned American industrialist and philanthropist, Joseph N. Pew, Jr, purchased the farm. The Pew family, founders of the Sun Oil Company and the Pew Charitable Trusts, used the home for three generations before selling it to French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust last year. At the time of the acquisition, Ole Amundsen, Program Manager for The Conservation Fund said, "In this one project you have a site of historic significance going all the way back to the Revolutionary War, the striking architecture of the buildings, the impact of restoring the forest to help improve the water quality of French creek and the truly amazing and stunning scenic value of this landscape nestled in the narrow valley."
The valley property, which includes the ironmaster’s manor house built in 1733 by Mrs. Anna Nutt, remains of an ironworkers’ village and furnace, woods, pastures and farmland, has remained virtually unchanged since the early 1700s.
During the mid-1700s, George Taylor, later a member of the Continental Congress and one of the signees of the Declaration of Independence, managed Warwick Furnace Farm. On the list of notable historical personages and events to be associated with the property, one of the most famous yet brief occurred after the defeat by the British troops at the Battle of the Brandywine in 1777, when General George Washington’s Continental Army retreated to the serene Warwick Furnace Farm. Aside from hosting soldiers during the American Revolution, the farm played an important role in the war effort and was a center of iron production, casting the first Franklin Stove and producing iron for cannons and cannon balls.
The furnace operated through the 1860s and was shut down shortly after the Civil War.
When French & Pickering bought the property, Charles Jacob, Chair of the Warwick Township Board of Supervisors said, “Three hundred years ago, the iron and steel industry started in Pennsylvania right here. The protection of this property is important to the township for both its historic and environmental significance.”
In the late 1920’s, the famed Chester County architect R. Brognard Okie renovated the Manor House at Warwick Furnace Farm as well as the plan and layout of the property. Okie’s famous details show in every room of the manor house – from the beautiful gougework, to the wooden doorstops, from the hidden storage nooks, to the intricate hardware. The Manor House is considered an exemplar of Okie’s finest work and an important legacy of American design and architecture.
“The view shed over this pristine valley is remarkable, and as one stands on the porch or garden terraces of the main house the view is unchanged from the 18th century,” said Cary F. Leptuck, President at French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. “This land is an environmental treasure. Some of the cleanest water in the entire French Creek watershed flows through the property and is now protected forever as a major source of drinking water. The wetlands, meadows and forest provide habitat for scores of important flora and fauna.”
The Trust purchased the property with the intention to sell the parcel containing the manor home and outbuildings. “The importance of the Warwick Furnace Farm property cannot be overstated in any of its components – environmental, historic and visual,” said Leptuck.
For further information, contact Holly Gross of the Holly Gross Group and Mark Willcox of Country Properties at BHSS Fox & Roach: 484-678-0367
Click here for property listing details.