Jefferson Crossing Property History and Lore
Gifted to William Penn Jr. on his birthday, the Jefferson Crossing property was a
small portion of a tract extending to the Schuylkill River
created by William Penn in 1689 as the Manor of Williamstadt in
honor of his son. Junior quickly sold the tract five days
later for pennies on the dollar to two Philadelphia merchants;
Isaac Norris soon bought out his partner.
Norriton Township was established in 1730. Although Penn had authority to divide the
area into townships and counties, it was the residents of the
area who petitioned in 1730 for establishment of Norriton as a
township (later divided into East and West). Montgomery County
was not established until 1784.
Early owners included: Samuel Norman; Benjamin Conrad (aka
Connard); Jonathan H. Vail; Mark DeHaven; Thomas Perot; William
Buckland; Russell and Jean Hunsberger; Dr.Merri Claude Mollier;
Michael and Dorothy Russo; M.L. Hankin; and Angelo Romano.
Originally agricultural the property became a Gentleman's farm at the turn of the
Twentieth Century and an Estate at the end of the First World War. After 55 years
of commercial use, the property is now again residential.
The earliest permanent residence, built in 1848, was partially destroyed
by fire in 1920. Prominent architect Mantle Fielding redesigned
it in the style of Monticello, which made it adaptable as Buckland's private
estate, Mollier’s Montgomery Chiropractic Hospital, the Russos’
General DeKalb Inn, and the Romano’s Jefferson House Restaurant. Another fire caused
irreparable damage to the restaurant and the Romano’s sold the
property to Jefferson Crossing Inc. in 2005.
Many thanks Jefferson Crossing Neighbors Mike Clerico for his research on the property ownership
and to Kay Woodland for taking a pile of research and distilling it into an interesting article.
The background behind this page is the 1852 deed of sale for this property from Robert and Henry Conrad to Mark DeHaven. You can get a clear unobstructed view of part of the deed by scrolling all the way down.