On the outskirts of Philadelphia, one does not need to look far to see the significant role preservation plays in our community.
With a rich history and incredible protected environment, northwest Philadelphia–and its landscape and period architecture–tells the story of our nations early years.
The Whitemarsh Foundation is proud to play a small but significant role in that story. Established in 2001 the Foundation is dedicated to the preservation, conservation and stewardship of open space in the Whitemarsh Valley, and oversees nearly 200 acres of preserved land just beyond the Philadelphia City limits at Erdenheim Farm, on what was and remains a gentleman’s farm.
The history of the Foundation’s land and Dixon Meadow House– restored in 2016–dates back to the late 1700s with the land belonging to a man named John Wilson. By the mid 1800s period maps show the Farmhouse at 548 Flourtown Road owned by William Coulson and later his two daughters who never married. The Farm was sold to George Dunton Widener Jr. just prior to World War I. The land was acquired by Mr. Widener’s nephew Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr., who bred thoroughbreds and farmed the land upon which the farmhouse stands for over 35 years, protecting the land from repeated offers from land developers. In 2005, a tract of about 50 acres was sold for the erection of the Hill at Whitemarsh. This transaction led to the Whitemarsh Foundation’s initiative for the preservation of Erdenheim Farm. The McCausland family became interested in the preservation of the farm, as well, and acquired approximately 250 acres in June 2009.
The entire 450 acre Farm is now protected from all but the most limited development in perpetuity.
Today, the efforts of the Whitemarsh Foundation are appreci- ated by the community at large. The 14-acre Dixon Meadow Preserve–completed in 2014–earned a 2015 Montgomery County Award for successful community collaboration, sus- tainable site design, and habitat creation, and in 2016 the Dixon Meadow House opened its doors to its first educa- tion classes held in connection with the Morris Arboretum, Whitemarsh Township Parks and Recreation Department and William Jeannes Memorial Library.