Glen Foerd on the Delaware

GlenFoerd-sig.jpg
Philadelphia, PA
United States
Glen Foerd on the Delaware

Located 12 miles north of Philadelphia, this 18-acre estate belonged to Charles Macalester, a financial advisor to eight Presidents. In 1850, Macalester acquired 1000 acres along the Delaware River which he named Torresdale. There he erected Glengarry, an Italianate house situated atop 20-foot high banks. The estate was purchased in 1893 by manufacturer Robert H. Foerderer; he transformed the house into an Edwardian mansion with the aid of McAuley & Company architects in 1902.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Thomas Sears and James Bush-Brown designed the landscape. The property is traversed by winding drives through copses which lead to the manor and its ancillary structures, a legacy of Macalester's ownership. Five large greenhouses on the grounds were dismantled in 1926 and replaced with a formal boxwood and rose garden. The estate also includes a lily pond featuring a fountain and bronze statuary, a sunken tennis court, and a garden house. A vineyard near the cottage is surrounded by pink and white peonies. The southern lawns , are planted with spring ephemerals, shrubs and specimen trees, including a Japanese Pagoda tree, a post oak, and 300-year-old black and white oaks along the riverbanks.

The last Foerderer inhabited the house until her death in 1971, at which time it was bequeathed to the Lutheran Church in America. In 1985, the Glen Foerd Conservation Corporation and the Fairmount Park Commission assumed ownership of the estate. The gardens are undergoing a gradual restoration. Glen Foerd was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.