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Welkinweir Gardens & Collections

Our history…

Can be traced back to the early 17th century, when the property was part of the Reading Furnace, providing the natural resources for manufacturing iron. In the late 1820s, William Morris purchased the property, with its house and surrounding farmland. A blacksmith, Morris worked at the nearby tilt hammer mill located on Beaver Run. He eventually married the mill owner’s daughter, Mary Ann Rea, and inherited the mill. Their son Edwin continued the operation until his death in 1898.Hosta in the Gardens at Welkinweir

In 1935 Everett and Grace Rodebaugh purchased the property as a weekend retreat and summer home, attracted by the peace and tranquility of the valley. They lovingly transformed the then declining farm, where the once forested land had been cleared for lumber and used for farming and grazing, to the lush sanctuary one finds today. The name they gave their new home, Welkinweir (meaning “where sky meets water”), embodies the sense of space and beauty that first inspired them to settle here. Conservation visionaries, in 1964 the Rodebaughs founded Green Valleys Association. And as part of their lifelong goal to preserve the property for future generations, the Rodebaughs established an Open Space Conservation Easement in 1976 to protect Welkinweir in perpetuity.

The Estate House at Welkinweir

The Estate House…

…is nestled into its hillside niche with an organic security. The original farmhouse, circa 1750, was added on to by both generations of the Morris family, once in 1830 and again in 1860. In 1940, Philadelphia architect Fridtjof Tobiessen was retained by the Rodebaughs to expand the house in such a way as to blend into the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Welkinweir may be the only significant residential commission of Tobiessen, whose principal works were public schools, memorials, and churches. Today, the charm and grace of this 18th-century building is being preserved as it is made “greener” following sustainable practices. For example, solar panels offset the organization’s electric usage, significantly reducing Welkinweir’s “carbon footprint.” Welkinweir is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rhododrendrun The Welkinweir Arboretum

The Arboretum…

…radiates out from the Estate House in waves of color and texture. The 55-acre arboretum is filled with rare and unusual plants and trees. Take a walk along any of Welkinweir’s 2 miles of trails to experience more of this enchanted place.

Welkinweir today…

…offers a sanctuary for visitors looking to escape the hustle, bustle, and noise of everyday life. The lush property provides diverse habitats for an array of plants, animals, and insects while serving as a “living laboratory” highlighting sustainability and ecological stewardship practices. Welkinweir is a resource to the community, committed to doing the right things for the environment and then communicating those practices to others.

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