19th Century Mansion on the Delaware is Beautifully Mysterious and Deliciously Appealing

white building behind tree
Image via The Philly Captain at YouTube.
Glen Foerd.

Between busy Northeast Philadelphia and Bensalem sits an 1850s home. The peaceful oasis — Glen Foerd — attracts visitors with eclectic interests, reports Kevin Riordan in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

It was constructed by a Phila. philanthropist, Charles Macalester on a Delaware River bluff across from Delanco N.J. It was one of several tony residences built by Phila.’s power families in the 1800s and eliminated over the ensuing century.

Its deed eventually passed to Florence Foerderer Tonner, a religious patron of the arts. Dedicated to the ascetic life, she installed a prayer room in the dwelling only accessible by a secret door.

Tonner’s passage in 1971 had developers salivating over the prospect of clearing the land and breeding condos.

Neighbors fought back, however, citing a caveat in Tonner’s will that required the property to be used for “the good of the public.”

It’s now in the hands of Phila.’s Parks and Recreation Dept.

Despite being lesser known, it has an active calendar. This year’s holds 100 bookings, comprising weddings and cultural/environmental events.

Visitors come to bird-watch or river-watch, visit the onsite art gallery, or take in a concert performance.

Or even to eat, despite the absence of a restaurant.

It’s a popular place for foragers, those who gain sustenance by gathering edible wild plants. The landscape includes lemon clover, ground elder, and garlic mustard, all of which are consumable.

More on Glen Foerd is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


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