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In 1848, the Hermitage Mansion was built by German immigrants seeking religious freedom; a sanctuary offering peace and privacy in the pastoral Wissahickon Valley.

The setting of The Hermitage celebrates the beauty and tranquility of Fairmount Park. It’s deep history as a space for retreat and artistic endeavors is central to this proposed project. 

 

The Hermitage mansion can be traced back 300 years to a small group of Rosicrucians, a sect of monks who emigrated from Germany in 1694 seeking freedom and privacy, who were given land in the Wissahickon Valley where the Hermitage stands today.  A tabernacle was built and the monks engaged in vegetable and herb gardening and scholarly and artistic endeavors.

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In 1848, the property was sold to Evan Prowattain who made a series of improvements and built The Hermitage on the site of the old Rosicrucian Tabernacle to use as a residence. 

 

During this era, the Fairmount Park Commission was formed to oversee the creation of a public park along the Schuylkill River and to maintain the park as an open public place and park for the enjoyment of all Philadelphians. The Commission grew to assume responsibility for the management of outlying parks

and parkways, such as the Wissahickon Valley. In 1878, the Powattain family sold the Hermitage Mansion to the City of Philadelphia for $1.

 

Fast forward to modern times, the Delaware Opera Company leased The Hermitage in return for care and maintenance from 1981 to 2006. Currently, the Fairmount Park Conservancy oversees the property and offers long term leases to businesses/organizations that align with the original use for the space.

We will work with private donors, philanthropic organizations, and state and federal governments to raise the money required to transform this historic park asset; honoring its past and heralding its future.
 

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