The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has been part of the National Park System since 1965 and the Slateford Farm was acquired the next year. The farm's historical and cultural resources are derived from its location in Southeastern Pennsylvania, an area settled early in the 1700s and rich in ethnicity and agricultural and quarrying activity. The future farm's land was part of the Walking Purchase of 1737 and became part of Northampton County in 1750, and later, Upper Mount Bethel Township.
The earliest settlers in the region arrived in the 1730s and a few of them settled for a time near the future Slateford Farm. The township and the county became known for their agricultural richness, for the farming skill of their German population, and for the high-quality and quantity of their slate products. Slateford Farm land and underlying slate beds contributed to these reputations.
The owners of Slateford Farm came from several walks of life. Most prominant were the Pipher farmers. Yet the province's proprietors and a surveyor general also owned the property, if only for speculative purposes. Amos Strettell, his daughters and their husbands were wealthy and contributed to the colony's cultural, business and judicial affairs. The Morris brothers even owned the Hopewell Furnace (now the Hopewell Village National Historic Site) for a short period of time. In later years the farm was owned by a New Jersey farmer, and wealthy New Yorkers who took a business gamble on the land's slate potential.
Slateford Farm's value is in the scenic beauty of the view from the farmhouse's front porch, in the farm's proximity to the Delaware River and the Delaware Water Gap, in the utilization of both the farm's land for agriculture and of the slate bed underneath, and in the knowledge that several generations of Pipher children were born and raised there. Slateford Farm represents stability and continuity, as seen in the farming of the land, and risk, as seen in the opening of the quarries. Slateford Farm's history is integral to that of its surrounding region, state and nation.
Interpretation at Slateford Farm focuses on both farming and quarrying. Costumed interpreters demonstrate slate splitting and discuss nineteenth century farming with visitors. The resources at Slateford Farm are rich and varied, and are a fascinating aspect of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Last Updated: 31-Dec-2009