Walnut Hill (Pawling Farm)is part of Valley Forge National Historical Park
Walnut Hill is a remnant of the former Pawlings/Wetherill land holdings. A large parcel of land bounded by the Schuylkill River and the Perkiomen Creek was owned by the Pawling family in the 18th century and in the 19th century by the Wetherill Family.
Some structures still stand on this land, one of which is a large stone barn and another are the remnants of the Pawlings/Wetherill mansion house.
Walnut Hill was originally purchased by Henry Pawling (I) in 1719 from Edward Farmer. The land remained in the Pawling family until it was sold in 1826 to Samuel Wetherill Jr. by Levi Pawling and James Milnor, executors of the estate of Henry Pawling (III).
The earliest remaining portion of the mansion house was built by Henry Pawling (II) in 1743. The family continued to acquire land and by the mid 1800's the Pawling holdings were 700 acres. Pawling's Ford was constructed as a crossing of the Schuylkill River and a rope ferry was operated there prior to the Revolutionary War.
Samuel Wetherill, upon purchasing Walnut Hill in 1826, built a large stone barn on the property which was doubled in size in 1845 by his son, John Price Wetherill. The 1845 addition actually created a second barn that was connected to the first only by a narrow door on the first floor.
The large barn (approx. 40.5' by 116.5') remains and is an imposing structure.
The property remained in the hands of the Wetherill family until 1949. Walnut Hill was purchased in that year by Lyle Boulware. Boulware spent the next 20 years renovating and rehabilitating the mansion house only to have it lost to fire in 1967. At this time only remnants of the mansion house remain.
The National Park Service acquired the farm in 1984.
This short history was gathered from information graciously supplied by Valley Forge National Historic Park's Wilcox Library. The specific documents referenced are:
1. "Untangling the History of the Pawling/Wetherill House at Walnut Hill Estate, Pawling Road, Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania." A Thesis in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation [University of Pennsylvania] by Thomas Clinton McGimsey, 1992
2. Kurz, Walnut Hill/Flatland. Ford archeological investigations. Unpublished document.
The date information on the barn reads:
Identification of photographs:
North side of barn
East side of barn showing marble date stone
Close-up of marble date stone
South-east perspective of barn including remnant carriage shed
South face of barn
West end of barn with palladian opening
Detail south face
North side ramp
Detail south west corner
Detail south face
View from south of east end of roof with four black vultures
Black vulture - Coragyps atratus
Privy located in field north of the barn
All four images are views of the remains of the mansion house