Wyck House

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Wyck House
Wyck House, Philadelphia, HABS PA-7-3-5.jpg
Wyck House is located in Pennsylvania
Wyck House
Location 6026 Germantown Avenue
Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Coordinates 40°1′18″N 75°10′43″W / 40.02167°N 75.17861°W / 40.02167; -75.17861Coordinates: 40°1′18″N 75°10′43″W / 40.02167°N 75.17861°W / 40.02167; -75.17861
Area 2 12 acres (1.0 ha)
Architect William Strickland
Governing body Wyck Association
NRHP Reference # 71000736[1]
Added to NRHP October 26, 1971[2]

The Wyck House, also called the Haines House and the Hans Millan House, is a historic mansion, museum, garden, and home farm in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1971; it is a contributing property of the Colonial Germantown Historic District.

History[edit]

Wyck's earliest owner was Hans Milan, a Quaker who came from Germany and was a descendant of a Swiss Mennonite family. His daughter, Margaret, married a Dutch Quaker named Dirk Jansen, a linen weaver who prospered in the first half of the 18th-century. By his death, he was listed as a gentleman and had Anglicized his name to Dirk Johnson. Their daughter, Catherine, married Caspar Wistar, a German who became a Quaker and amassed a sizable fortune as a button maker, glassmaker and investor in land.

In the next generation, Margaret Wistar married Reuben Haines I, a brewer and merchant of English descent. Their son Caspar Wistar Haines continued the family businesses and married Hannah Marshall, a member of another Quaker family. Wyck passed to Reuben and Jane Bowne Haines and then to their youngest daughter, Jane Reuben Haines, who lived here until 1911, carefully preserving the house, furnishings and gardens.

In the eighth generation, Jane B. Haines founded the first school of horticulture for women, The Pennsylvania School of Horticulture of Ambler, which is now Temple Ambler, and one brother, Caspar, helped design the Mexican railway system; while another, Robert, invented a gauge for measuring steel in rolling mills.

The last owners, Robert and Mary Haines, were fruit growers; Robert patented a device to press apples for a more natural tasting juice. Wyck's family descendants are still very involved in the life of their home and community.

Wyck house in 2009

Today, Wyck is maintained as a house museum. The gardens are known for their collection of old roses, including 30 varieties, and the home farm has become a staple of the community.

Architecture[edit]

Wyck is an architecturally innovative house with an old-fashioned skin. From the outside it appears colonial in plan and design with some fashionable accents such as the late 18th-century whitewashed stucco.

The house is actually an accumulation of 18th-century parts: the hall (c. 1700-20), the front parlor (1736) and the library and dining room from (1771–73, which replaced a c. 1690 log structure.)

The house has been little altered since 1824 when Philadelphia architect William Strickland dramatically rearranged its interior spaces to create an open plan, allowing light to flood each room and bringing the pleasures of the garden inside.

Education at Wyck[edit]

Wyck offers a variety of interesting educational programs for school groups. The types of programs include, but are not limited to: Environmental Education, programs that focus on history of Quakerism, Native Americans, Colonial life, and Philadelphia. These programs foster literacy and writing while also giving children a chance to do hands-on activities such as arts and crafts and gardening.

Home farm[edit]

For more than 250 years, Wyck existed as a working farm. Today that legacy continues with Wyck's Home Farm. With the support of the Samuel S. Fels Fund, the Home Farm was established in 2007. There are large vegetable and herb gardens, designed with grass paths wide enough for easy walking. There are strawberry and raspberry beds, gooseberries and blueberries, along with fruit trees, an asparagus bed, a cutting garden, and a large grape arbor. Wyck is also home to several beehives. The various gardens are managed according to traditional gardening techniques, and no synthetic chemicals are used. Produce from the Home Farm is sold at Wyck’s seasonal, on-site weekly Farmers Market. Most of the produce is available to neighbors at below market prices. In cooperation with the Food Trust, Wyck strives to serve as many people as possible, regardless of their means. Vouchers from the federally funded Farmers Market Nutrition Program are accepted as well as EBT, the state welfare benefits card.

Currently, Wyck’s Farmers Market provides the sole opportunity to buy beautifully grown, extremely fresh produce in the immediate neighborhood. In 2008, approximately 2,800 people visited the Farmers Market over the course of its seven-month season. Unique amongst urban Farmers Markets, Wyck encourages market-goers to stroll through the gardens and see where and how their food is grown. Wyck’s surplus produce is sometimes sold to Weaver's Way, area restaurants, the Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market, or donated to neighborhood senior centers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ Listing at the National Park Service

External links[edit]