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Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

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Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings


Location: Delaware County, Race Street, Upland.

Built in 1683, this house is the oldest extant English-constructed house in Pennsylvania. Pusey, a Quaker, migrated from England to manage a gristmill in which William Penn was a partner. Becoming a warm friend of Penn, who apparently visited this home, he became a member of the assembly, served on the colony's Executive Council, and in 1701 sat on the Governor's Council. Selling his interest in the milling business in 1708, he moved to Chester, after which his former home had various owners. By the 1930's, the house seemed destined for eventual loss. Interest in it increased after World War II, however, and in the early 1960's the Friends of the Caleb Pusey House came to its rescue and began restoration.


Location: Erie County, on the north bank of French Creek, Waterford.

The French built Fort Le Boeuf in the spring of 1753 as part of a major effort to strengthen their hold over the vast lands in Canada and the Mississippi-Ohio Valleys that they claimed. The fort resembled Fort Presque Isle, built a bit sooner, although it was somewhat smaller. Four log buildings stood within a log stockade. The Governor of Virginia sent a young officer, George Washington, to protest the incursion into British-claimed territory, but the French rebuffed him. During the French and Indian War, a British force laid siege to a major French stronghold, Fort Niagara, and the garrisons of Fort Le Boeuf and other minor posts were summoned as reinforcements. Fort Niagara fell, and in 1759 the French themselves destroyed Fort Le Boeuf.

Great Britain used the site of Fort Le Boeuf for a depot, and in 1794 the Americans built a blockhouse nearby, but all these buildings fell into ruins and disappeared as the area became a settled and prosperous section of modern Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today operates a museum illustrating the history of Fort Le Boeuf on its site. Across the street are the foundations of the 1794 blockhouse. Many interesting artifacts of French, Indian, British, and American origin have been recovered in the area.


Location: Erie County, at 6th and Parade Streets, Erie.

In 1753, a French force under Sieur Marin from Montreal, recognizing the strategic possibilities afforded by the sheltering arm of the Presque Isle peninsula, built a fort there, about the same time as Fort Le Boeuf. The stockade of chestnut logs measured about 120 feet square and 15 feet high, and enclosed several buildings. After the British captured Fort Niagara, the French abandoned and destroyed Fort Presque Isle. The English rebuilt the fort and garrisoned it, but later abandoned it. No remains are extant today.


Location: Delaware County, on Creek Road, 1 mile south of Clifton Heights.

This cabin, erected during the period 1640-50, is one of the earliest extant examples of Swedish log construction in the United States. The walls consist of logs about 12 inches in diameter, notched at the corners. The cabin originally consisted of only one room, but another was added later; a low door connects the rooms. The ceiling rafters can be touched by the upraised hand. Each room contains a Swedish-style corner fireplace, above which rises a large stone chimney. The roof is gabled.

Lower Swedish Cabin
An early example of Swedish log construction, Lower Swedish Cabin, Pennsylvania, built in the period 1640-50.

Location: Bucks County, 3-1/2 miles east of U.S. 13, just outside of Tullytown.

This is the re-created country estate of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. He purchased the lands in 1682, on his first visit to Pennsylvania, and began construction the following year. During the next 15 years, he directed the development in a stream of correspondence from England. He stayed at the manor frequently while he resided in the New World during the period 1699-1701 and entertained many colonial personages and Indian visitors. The manor fell into a deplorable state after he finally returned to England, and by the end of the century was in ruins. The Pennsylvania Historical Commission acquired it on the 250th anniversary of his first trip to America and subsequently carefully re-created the manor house, bake and brew houses, stable, other outbuildings, and gardens and grounds. The manor is open to the public all year.


Location: Delaware County, on Pa. 420, near Darby Creek Bridge, about 2 miles south of Glenolden.

This hewn-log structure was probably built in 1654, a year before New Sweden fell to the Dutch, and is the best preserved and most carefully documented of the few known remains of Swedish settlement in the 17th century. About 1698, a second cabin was erected a few feet distant, and around 1806 the two structures were connected by a third one, built of stone. Marten Martensson built the original cabin shortly after he arrived in New Sweden.

The long-time tradition that the cabin was the birthplace of John Morton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, has not been verified. Morton's great-grandfather did, however, once own the land on which the cabin stands. Since 1935, when the cabin was in a dilapidated condition and surrounded by modern framehouses, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has carefully restored it. It is furnished with period pieces. The setting is now preserved by a small park of approximately 3 acres, which is open to visitors throughout the year.

Swedish Cabin
Swedish Cabin (Morton Homestead), Pennsylvania. It consists of two log cabins connected by a stone building. The three structures were built between 1654 and 1806.
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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005