Well, almost... The Valley Green Inn is built on land that was part of a several hundred acre tract purchased from William Penn in 1685. It had absentee owners in England and Ireland until 1791 when it was bought by the Livezey family who ran a large grist mill downstream.
In about the year 1850, Thomas Livezey rented to Edward Rinker about three acres of land on the Wissahickon Creek below and adjoining the stone arch bridge. He was to build a house and had the privilege of having boats on the stream to accommodate picnics. He paid two years rent January 2, 1852 of $50.
Rinker may have first built a smaller dwelling and then soon after built a larger building he named the Valley Green Hotel. There followed a succession of innkeepers throughout the nineteenth century, all who no doubt served catfish, waffles, and chicken dinners; the popular fare of other Wissahickon establishments.
The Valley Green Hotel was built during 1850-51 at the same time as the Wissahickon Turnpike (Lincoln Drive) was being completed. The turnpike brought recreational visitors into the Valley by carriage and horseback to view the lovely scenery.In 1868, the newly created Fairmount Park Commission appropriated the creek and its banks, including the turnpike, and they improved the condition of the road and removed the toll gates. The Livezeys then sold the hotel to the Park in 1873.
In 1899, the chief engineer of Fairmount Park recommended the building be demolished; it was in disrepair and the Park did not have the funds to renovate. Fortunately the building was saved by a local committee, headed by Charles W. Henry, which raised $1228 for the restoration.
In 1901, a committee of women, arranged by Lydia T. Morris, was given permission by the Park to manage the newly restored Valley Green Hotel. They served light refreshments and afternoon tea to riders, pedestrians and wintertime skaters. These women managed the popular Valley Green Hotel in this manner for many years. At this time, the restaurant became officially known as the Valley Green Inn.
In the mid-1930's, the Friends of the Wissahickon, a large group dedicated to the preservation of the Valley, became interested in the Inn. Restorations were again necessary, and, under the leadership of the Friends and Park Commissioner, Samuel Fleisher, new foundations, a new roof and timbers were added. The Inn was re-dedicated at a ceremonial dinner in 1937. The Inn has been under the joint care of the friends of the Wissahickon and the Park Commission ever since yet remains a privately run business.
Throughout the years, the Inn has been the focus of numerous paintings, postcards and writings, as well as the setting for many special occasions. T.A. Daily wrote in 1922 that, "The charm of Valley Green varies not only with the seasons, but with the day of the week and the hour of the day."
VALLEY GREEN ROAD AT WISSAHICKON, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19128
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