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Vicary House

Ohio-Beaver

Vicary House

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Location Details

PHONE: 724-775-1848
ADDRESS: 1235 Third Ave
Freedom, PA 15042
HOURS: Monday thru Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. or by special appointment
COST: donations appreciated

Event Details

Applebutter(Oct), Christmas at the Mansion (Dec), Freedom Vicary Days (aug)

Description

They say old soldiers never die; they just fade away. What about old sea captains? William Vicary, for one, chose to retire along the shores of the Ohio River in what is now Freedom, Pa.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Vicary began his seafaring career in 1788 at the age of 17. Later, he commanded merchant ships bound for China, Australia, and the East Indies. In 1806, Captain Vicary and his bride, Anna Maria Gossler of Columbia, Pa., decided to make a home on dry land. They moved to Sewickley Bottoms in 1821, becoming friends with Father George Rapp and other Harmonists in nearby Economy.

Soon the Captain purchased 604 acres for $5,304 and started to build his house of sandstone blocks quarried on the property. Like many New England merchants and shipbuilders, Vicary built his house in the Federal style, with a square floor plan, columns, and large windows. The house was an anomaly in western Pennsylvania, where Victorian structures reigned.

The house stayed in the Vicary family until 1911, when the Captain’s granddaughter, Anna Harvey, moved to Los Angeles. By the early 1970s, progress in the form of Route 65 threatened to destroy the house. Thanks to the efforts of the Beaver County Historical Research & Landmarks Foundation and concerned citizens, the Vicary House was saved. In 1974, it was put on the National Register of Historical Places, and in 1998, it became the Foundation’s official headquarters.

“Restoration work continues,” says Vicary House Executive Director Brenda Applegate. “Our plan is to take the house back to the 1820s.” In the meantime, high school students are invited to spend a day in the 1800s, churning butter, doing laundry, cooking meals, and helping with restoration projects. The Vicary House holds historical craft demonstrations and holiday festivals, and offers guided tours of the house and gardens.

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