Friday, January 22, 2010

A Colonial Valentine at Graeme Park

Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson led a life of romance and tragedy. One of the most highly regarded women of her time, she was well educated, the daughter of a prominent Philadelphia physician and the granddaughter of the former Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania. A successful writer and socialite, she hosted famed literary gatherings and counted luminaries of Philadelphia society amongst her closest friends and confidents.

On the surface, she seemed to have it all: engaged at a young age to William Franklin, money, prestige, family connections, and success. So how did it all go so wrong for her? Left broken-hearted when Franklin married another, the untimely deaths of her parents, an ill-fated marriage to Loyalist Henry Hugh Fergusson, and the subsequent Revolutionary War were to drastically alter the course of Elizabeth’s life. Her husband’s loyalties led to most of her worldly possessions being auctioned off and she was left fighting to retain her ancestral home. Her last years were spent in virtual seclusion. She alienated all but her closest friends. Her husband returned to England, branded a traitor, rumors of his infidelity swirling throughout the city. Financial woes forced Elizabeth out of her beautiful estate at Graeme Park to take up rooms as a boarder in someone else’s home.

Learn about Elizabeth’s loves and losses on Graeme Park’s annual Colonial Valentine tours, featuring costumed actors portraying scenes from Elizabeth’s life in candlelit vignettes throughout the historic Keith House. Tours are being held on February 13 at 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, and 8:30 p.m. and are $12/person which includes light refreshments. Tours are limited in number and must be reserved in advance and held with a credit card. Call 215-343-0965 for more information or to reserve, or mail your check made payable to the Friends of Graeme Park to 859 County Line Road, Horsham, PA 19044 along with your name, phone number and preferred tour time. Directions are available on our website at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A part of Graeme Park you've never seen before ...

I'm making an assumption here that most or our readers out there have never been up the steep stairs that lead to the roof of Graeme Park. It's certainly not part of the tour. While in the house taking a few last pictures for a presentation, I decided to see what the camera could capture up under the roof. It was pitch dark up there, so I just pointed and shot. As you come up the stairs, one side is partially walled off with the brick chimney, but the other side you can "see" down to the stone end of the house. Notice the original hewn rafters (some with bark still on) that make up the rafters. I also think I see some of the lathework holding the ceiling plaster in place.

Stay tuned. When it gets warmer out, I'll bring you the basement.

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