Two pieces of land that are part of the Brandywine Battlefield were recently secured as protected open space – one of which was celebrated on September 11th, which was the 241st anniversary of the legendary American Revolutionary War Battle of Brandywine.
The Brandywine Conservancy “celebrated the purchase of a 13-acre parcel located on Birmingham Hill—the epicenter of the battlefield—which merges with an adjacent 100 acres previously acquired by the Conservancy in 2007,” states the Conservancy’s news release. “This acquisition completes the organization’s remarkable 25-year endeavor to preserve over 500 contiguous acres where the fiercest fighting transpired during the Battle of Brandywine.”
The Brandywine Conservancy and a consortium of local preservation groups, citizens, and federal, state, county and local government officials formed the Brandywine Battlefield Task Force in the mid-1990s to implement public and private partnerships to preserve lands within the Brandywine Battlefield National Historic Landmark. In understanding the importance of the Brandywine Battlefield’s role in forming this nation, the Chester County Planning Commission has been working on battlefield preservation and outreach for over 30 years and has undertaken multiple battlefield plans and studies in conjunction with other partners such as the Brandywine Battlefield Task Force.
Securing this last parcel on Birmingham Hill in Birmingham Township “brings fulfillment to decades of work to preserve the area as a contiguous whole and prevent development in the heart of one of the nation’s most important historic battlefields,” states the Conservancy’s news release. The Conservancy eventually will open the property to the public but is first going to undertake a yearlong master planning study to ensure the property’s historic integrity remains intact.
The final acquisition of the Birmingham Hill property was made possible by support and contributions from the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program; the Longwood Foundation; the late Mr. H. F. Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite; the McLean Contributionship; the American Battlefield Trust; the Army Corps of Engineers; the Crestlea Foundation; the William P. Worth Trust; Mr. and Mrs. William P. Worth, III; Mr. Peter Rogers; and Ms. Dianne Bricker, according to the Conservancy. In addition, Chester County contributed $375,000 toward the 13.6-acre Birmingham Hill property through the Preservation Partnership Program administered by the Department of Open Space Preservation. For the previous Birmingham Hill acquisition, the county contributed $1.3 million through the same program.
Another area of the Brandywine Battlefield, known as Osborne Hill Farm, was recently placed under conservation easement, ensuring its permanent protection. Natural Lands made the announcement on September 4 about the 88-acre Osborne Hill that straddles Birmingham and Westtown Townships.
“Osborne Hill Farm is among nearly 500 battlefield acres that have been protected within Chester County alone,” states the Natural Lands news release. “The battlefield, however, measures 35,000 acres, and encroachment by Philadelphia-area development is always a threat. In a 2007 report to Congress on the status of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields, the National Park Service identified Brandywine as a national priority for preservation because of its historic significance and opportunities to preserve intact battlefield landscapes.”
The conservation easement was made possible with a $1.3 million grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program’s Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants, which are funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service; American Battlefield Trust members; $400,000 from the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program; Mt. Cuba Center; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – Department of Community and Economic Development with funds from the Marcellus Legacy Fund; the Virginia Cretella Mars Foundation; and a donation from the landowner, according to Natural Lands.
- [The first photo is of Osborne Hill and courtesy of Natural Lands.]
- [The second photo is of Birmingham Hill and features re-enactors from the 1st Delaware Regiment during the Brandywine Conservancy’s dedication ceremony on 9/11/18. This photo is courtesy of the Brandywine Conservancy.]