Glen Fern

This is a digital of a second Glen Fern landscape that the Livezey descendent and genealogist thought was painted in the 1770s buy a member of the famous Peale family of artists. I found in another source that the 19th century family attributed it to Rembrant Peale. But it was done by Philadelphia landscape painter Thomas Fennimore as part of the beginnings of the colonial revival era triggered by the national centennial celebration held in Philadelphia’s newly created Fairmount Park that the Livezey home and mill property were then part of. These paintings were done not long after the city acquired the Livezey site and are the last images of what the old site looked like before work was started to demolish the mill and most of its outbuildings.

                                    Glen Fern 1770 and the Livezey Mill about 1770

Fennimore applied artistic license to this image when he decided not to paint in the covered bridge that was actually there and changed the shape of the landscape seen behind the house by removing the hill that is actually there. This particular painting has not been found, perhaps sold to a private collector. It has not been seen in more than 80 years. Fennimore accurately captured the backside of Livezey’s home, Glen Fern. The house’s oldest section was built by Thomas Livezey beginning in 1750 as discovered as part of this research. Later in the 1760s he enlarged the house adding most of what Fennimore painted here along with raising the roof from what it originally was by adding a larger attic.

                                                       Glen Fern about 1900

The right-hand corner and about 25 feet of the creek facing wall are part of his original section. The buildings to the right are the mill’s cooper shop (the small stone building) this is adjoined by his privy, a wooden structure. The cooper shop stood till about 1915 when it was raised due to its decay. The privy was likely demolished not long after this painting was completed as part of the park’s site demolition work and has never been seen in any other image or photograph beyond these two paintings. The building to the right of the mill that has a hoist hood at the peak of the roof gable is a corn kiln. This building had four fire places set near the building’s four corners to dry the corn prior to milling which improved its quality and significantly reduced waste due to spoilage. Today only the lower foundation of the kiln exists.

                                                             Glen Fern 1910

                                                         Glen Fern Present Day