Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: July 1989 Volume 27 Number 3, Pages 93–101

A Collection of Springhouses: A Pictorial Portfolio

drawings by Meg Fruchter

Page 93

In I Remember America, Eric Sloane commented, "I went to visit the Andrew Wyeths one time and never did reach their home because there were so many extraordinary examples of early springhouses in and around Chadds Ford that I spent the whole day collecting them in my sketchbook."

His observations would have been equally applicable to both Tredyffrin and Easttown townships. On the following pages are sketches of some of our springhouses, drawn from recent photographs.

One of the things that early settlers looked for in choosing a homesite was a good spring. Walled in, with a springhouse built over it, it provided year-round refrigeration for the family. The springhouse was usually made of stone rather than wood, as stone maintains the low temperature more satisfactorily than wood does. In many cases the ledges and other fixtures inside the springhouse were also made of stone. As a result, a number of early springhouses still survive while other outbuildings have rotted away and deteriorated.

For the same reason, food and beverages were often put in earthenware or stoneware crocks or jars when they were put into the springhouse. While produce and eggs were usually stored on a built-in ledge, cans of milk or tubs of butter were frequently placed directly into the walled-in spring. Sometimes a second floor was added to provide a drier storage space for products affected by too much dampness.

On a hot summer day the springhouse was also the coolest place on the farm to sit and rest!

Page 94

Pugh Road, west of Old Eagle School Road, dated 1852

Swedesford Road, west of Howellville

Page 95

Varnum's Quarters, Valley Forge National Park

at Jarman's Mill, North Valley Road

Page 96

near the old parsonage Baptist Church in the Great Valley

at Sycamore Springs Farm, Yellow Springs Road

Page 97

Contention Lane, south of Old State Road

Sugartown Road, west of Leopard Road

Page 98

at Diamond Rock Farm, Yellow Springs Road

at Diamond Rock Farm, Yellow Springs Road

Page 99

LeBoutillier Road, north of Swedesford Road

at Hawthorn, South Leopard Road

Page 100

Waterloo Road, east of Newtown Road

at Avonwood, Pugh Road

Page 101

South Leopard Road, near Berwyn

at Tarleton, Sugartown Road


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