The following is HPHA's initial; proposal to mothball the PenroseStrawbridge House to allow time research the property.
The Horsham Preservation and Historical Association (HPHA) is requesting Horsham Council to allocate $15,000.00 to be used for the immediate “mothballing” of the Penrose/Strawbridge House. HPHA would donate $5000 for this effort. The house would be “mothballed” for a period of up to but not more than three years. This will allow HPHA time for in-depth research about the house and the surrounding buildings. Our research will include investigation of when and how each section of the house was constructed. It may also include more archaeological research around the perimeter of the house and digging at the ruin of what is believed to be a barn which stood along Governor Road in 1735. This three-year window also allows HPHA to have the site added to the National Register of Historic Places. We will work with the township to have the property approved for a “Save America’s Treasure” grant, and other federal and state grants. HPHA will use this time to raise funds for the restoration of the House. We will be happy to work with any other local groups who may be interested in the preservation of the house. At the close of this three-year period, the township will have more complete information and will be able to make an informed decision on the long-term use of the Penrose-Strawbridge property that will be best for Horsham.
In lieu of payment to the township, HPHA would assume responsibility for the utilities and maintenance of the house during the three-year term. Grant money awarded to either the township or HPHA for this project would be used for the stabilization and restoration of the property. The property will be returned to the township at the end of the three-year period.
All utilities would be maintained by HPHA. If the township maintains equipment on the site, they would pay for a portion of the utilities. The township would be responsible for connecting to the public water line when the line is dug through the property. HPHA funded water tests revealed no water quality problems except for a high iron content.
All restoration of the Penrose/Strawbridge House will be done in accordance with township, state, and federal building codes as they apply to recognized historic buildings. . HPHA has a qualified contractor ready to complete the stabilization of the foundation as soon as possible at no cost to the township.
The attached letter and booklet of reports explains the significance of the property and the house as presently known. HPHA intends to maintain the historical integrity of the property in relation to Graeme Park and other historical properties in the township.
As this is township property we propose that the township continue to cover the Penrose/Strawbridge property under their self-insured plan. HPHA would obtain insurance for contents similar to renter’s insurance.
HPHA does not expect the tax-exempt status of the property to change. We expect that Horsham Township will retain full ownership of the property.
HPHA’s vision for the Penrose/Strawbridge property is to restore the house and operate the grounds as a model nineteenth century Quaker farm. We plan to work closely with Graeme Park and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in related programs. HPHA believes that the Strawbridge property should be a living museum about Horsham’s heritage. This site can provide educational programs for students as well as adults.
HPHA believes the restoration of the property is best. The beauty of the restored property will not only compliment Graeme Park, it will complete another chapter of Horsham’s history. The economic benefits to Horsham of Graeme Park and the Penrose/Strawbridge Farm working together far exceeds the value of each historic site by themselves.