Monday, February 8, 2016

Four historic homes open for annual fall tour

Two of the 18th- and 19th-century homes stand on land originally deeded by William Penn.

Four historic homes open for annual fall tour


Four 18th- and 19th-century homes in scenic Solebury Township and Point Pleasant will be open for tours Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

The annual Autumn in Bucks County House Tour, offered by the Trinity Episcopal Church of Solebury, will include two properties originally deeded by William Penn.  

The houses on the tour are:

Rolling Green Farm

In 1682, William Penn deeded 250 acres to John Scarborough.  In 1746, the tract was reduced to 60 acres and sold to Enoch Pearson.  The house was completed in 1748, and the barn was built in 1762.  Thomas Paxson acquired the property in 1762, and his family kept it for generations.  It served as a camp for armies in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  Relics found on the grounds include the wooden mess bowl of a colonial soldier who died and was buried there.

Meetinghouse Cottage

The land was part of Solebury’s largest William Penn grant, given to John Scarborough in 1709. Thomas Ely built the original home about 1858 on a 102-acre farm. This farm twin-style home was built for his sons, Jeremiah and Mahlon Ely, and their families. The cottage later was bought by artist Paul Froelich, who added a great room for his art studio.  He and his wife lived here until 1961.  During the 1980s, Meetinghouse and Creamery Road residents preserved area farmland, now known as the Aquetong Valley and Honey Hollow Watershed. The cottage and surrounding land pay tribute to the area’s Quaker history.

Cross Creek

This tract along the Paunacussing Creek  dates to 1775. The original stone structure was built as a carriage house around 1876 by a member of the Isaac Stover family.  A recent renovation has modernized the home and grounds while preserving their character.   Raised-plaster walls and a corncrib-style garage have been restored.  Native vegetation is used to prevent erosion.

Centennial Barn  

Built in 1850, the barn was dismantled and reconstructed by Ralph Stover for viewing during the Centennial Exposition Fair in 1876. The barn is an example of a forebay bank barn, used for hay storage and cattle. The Stover family lived in the house until 1953, when the land was subdivided -- including  134 acres for a state park. A grist mill, tenant house, and barn are private residences, and a manor house is a B&B.

Tickets cost $35 per person and can be bought at the Trinity Church Office on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or online at  Children under 12 are not permitted to attend.

Box lunches for $12 can be pre-ordered and picked up at the church on Saturday.

Proceeds from the tour fund Trinity’s mission efforts.  For information, go to or call 215-297-5135.

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About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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