Asking for sizable contribution from township
The former Daniel Heister homestead, an Upper Salford landmark just south of the border with Marlborough Township near Sumneytown, has been earmarked by the Montgomery County Lands Trust for preservation.
The trust, a non-profit lands conservancy, is asking township officials for a $20,000 contribution to move forward with the project, however.
According to representative John Lea, the agency is in the process of negotiating with the current owner, Charles Rogers, to acquire the homestead and surrounding 81 acres to keep the property unspoiled. Lea gave a presentation at the Oct. 11 township supervisors’ meeting. The mansion, which dates back to 1757, is reportedly one of the area’s finest examples of brick and Flemish bond construction and has been assessed as nationally significant by a team of historians and museum curators.
Daniel Heister, a Revolutionary War colonel and member of Congress, was born in Marlborough Township in 1747. He served both Pennsylvania and Maryland as a representative and was a merchant by profession. According to historical documents, he was a frequent dinner guest at the home of President George Washington and even had a Liberty ship named after him, the SS Daniel Heister, during World War II.
The property has been determined to be more significant than either the Peter Wentz Farmstead in Worcester Township or Pennypacker Mills, located outside of Schwenksville, in part because there were very few renovations done through the years.
The land has also been deemed vital because of its location at the confluence of two high quality streams in the region - the Unami and Ridge Valley creeks. Additionally, it is located at the gateway to the Unami and Schuylkill Highlands.
Lea said the land alone is valued at $1.38 million and the house at $1.6 million. He said he hoped township officials would consider giving the $20,000 contribution in hopes to meet a March 31, 2012 deadline for the land negotiations and the May 31, 2012 deadline for the mansion.
Supervisors said that they would have to wait for 2012 budget talks before they could do anything with the project or contribution request. No action was taken.
In other business, the current owners of the former THP development at Old Skippack, Shelly, and Schwenksville roads, Louis Mascaro, has submitted an application to be placed in the township’s agricultural security district. The property is now known as Salford Farms.
Township Solicitor Stephen Imms and the supervisors explained that this is a process which includes going before the planning commission. The supervisors approved a motion for the property to move forward with seeking that status.