Lower Merion Township is fortunate to have a number of beautiful open and protected spaces throughout the township. Harriton House, which is built on 14 acres, is one of these wonderful treasures! Harriton House was built in 1704 by Rowland Ellis. Ellis had received the estate, which was originally close to 700 acres, from William Penn in the 1680″s. Ellis named his home “Bryn Mawr”, meaning high hill in Welsh. The current town of Bryn Mawr is actually named after the house! The most famous occupant of Harriton House was Charles Thomson. Thomson was the secretary of the Continental and Confederation Congresses (existing from 1774-1789), also known as the Philadelphia Congress, which became the governing body for the U.S. during the American Revolution. Thomson is credited with designing the great seal of the U.S., which is still used today on official documents; the seal is also a common sight for Americans on the back of a one dollar bill! In 1789, it was Thomson who traveled to meet with George Washington to relay the historic news that Washington had been elected to be the first president of the United States! Harriton House went on to be a Guernsey Dairy farm in the early 1900’s and provided milk and cream to the area; it was an important part of the dairy industry in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 1962, a group came together to form the Harriton Association to protect the house and land from being subdivided and developed. In 1973, Harriton House was added to the Register of Historic Places.
Today, Harriton is a wonderful place to visit. The House is available for tours and the farm animals delight visitors of all ages. In keeping with its amazing history, Harriton House has programs for the public which include: Guernsey ice cream social for Father’s Day, annual fall Harriton Farmstead Fair, (complete with helpers dressed in period costume), blacksmith classes, antique bookbinding classes, bee keeping and honey festival, apple festival and much, much more! All are welcome!
Harriton House, 500 Harriton Road, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010