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Lahr Farm


The Lahr Farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Lahr House, laid in random field stone with large cover quoins is set on a gentle slope. The main portion of the building is 2 1/2 stories high, 4 bays wide by 2 bays deep. Its gable roof has a simple box cornice with partial returns. It was built in two sections.

The northwest (right) section was a free-standing structure, 25' wide by 28' deep, the only section to have a cellar. The cellar door is located at the front right corner, half above ground level, with a 6-light window beside it and another cellar window on the north wall around the corner. Both windows are at grade level. The first floor windows above each of the basement windows has been changed from a single window to double, each holding two 6-over-6 sash-hung windows. The front entrance is reached by a short flight of stone steps as the house is a 1/2 story above grade at the front. The door is in the left bay of the early section. It has a 6-panel door and a 4-light transom above it; it is surmounted by a short pent roof.

The addition is 20' by 28', 2 bays wide by 2 bays deep. It has a very large and old chimney in the south wall. This chimney appears to be older than the free-standing house to which it is joined, and may have been part of an earlier log structure.

Windows in both sections are 6-over-6 on both the first and second floors, but the first floor windows are taller. First floor shutters are panelled; those on second floor windows are louvered. Each gable end has 2 small 4-light windows with rudimentary pegged frames at the attic level. There is a deep shed-roofed porch across the entire southern wall. The west bay on this gable end is a door with panelled bottom and 4 panes of glass in the top half.

To the rear, or west, is a second addition. This 2 1/2 story addition has a gable roof perpendicular to the main gable. Its windows are 6-over-6 except for one 4-light attic window. A shed roofed porch on its south wall has been enclosed in stone compatible with the rest of the house.

The main entrance opens into a full length hall with two rooms to the right and one to the left. Most striking in the large room is the enormous cooking fireplace and a large slimmer beam. The room was originally partitioned. Other interesting interior features include three small (2' x 1') wooden cupboards located in various rooms of the house. Each is identical, with one shelf, and is more amateur in workmanship than other carpentry in the house.

Available records make it difficult to determine what date should be applied to the present house. There is a plastered date stone in the north wall, which, if chipped way, might declare the building date. The entire structure is without date well before 1840, judging from its style and details of craftsmanship.

In front of the house, to the east, is a small gable roofed, 1 1/2 story stuccoed stone latchen and/or wash house. It has a roomy fireplace with stairway wrapped around it. At one time, there was a bake oven in the fireplace; it is now bricked up. There is one 6-over-6 window to the east and one to the west. The door faces south and is of board and batten. There is a small 4-light window in the gable above the door.

The bank barn is situated south of the house and is oriented to the east. It has a frame forebay supported by 4 conical stone pillars plus enclosed end wall supports. There are several additions to the back. The building has been converted for use as a steer or stock barn.

Significance

The Lahr Farm is a beautifully preserved example of a typical Chester County farmstead of the early nineteenth century. The fine stonework and fine original interior details are evidence of careful workmanship and distinguish it from lesser examples in the area. Surrounded by farmlands, the farm complex retains the rural, agricultural flavor of its early history. Its boundaries are largely intact and it is still a productive agricultural enterprise.

The significance of the property lies in the fact that it was a part of the Reading Furnace Tract of William Branson, a wealthy Quaker ironmaster from Philadelphia. It was one of the early partitionings of those lands. By 1783, Thomas Rutter and Samuel Potts had purchased all of William Branson's land in northern Chester County from the Branson grandchildren.

Rutter and Potts had no interest in Reading Furnace and allowed it to fall into disrepair. The wooded hills still had timber for making charcoal, which they used for their rations at Warwick and Coventry furnace and forge. As fields were cleared, they sold off farm-size portions. One of the earliest of these partitions was a 223 1/2 acre farm sold in 1783 to James Kenny, an Irish freeholder. This parcel was later sold to Philip Filman, Sr. in 1794.

The present stone house was probably built at least in part by Philip and James Filman, for they lived there 30 years. David Potts, Jr. purchased the farm from the Filmans in 1830, and 4 years later it came into the possession of Joseph Lahr, together "with houses, outhouses, buildings, barns, stables, ways, woods, water courses, etc." The farm remained in the possession of the Lahr family until 1938.

The early boundaries of this property have remained the same on the north, west, and part of the south sides.

References

MacElree, Urlmer, Around the Boundaries of Chester County. W. Chester, PA 1934, p.518.

Breou's Original Series of Farm Maps: Chester County, PA Philadelphia: W.H. Kirk, 1883.

Cope, Gilbert and Ashmead, Henry, Genealogical & Personal Memoirs of Chester & Delaware Counties PA Vol. I West Chester, PA: Chester County Historical Society. 1904.

  1. Cremers, Estelle, and Murphy, J. Kelly III, The Lahr Farm,
  2. nomination document, 1979, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Lahr Farm Map

**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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