Preserving History: NALT’s Mission to Protect and Share Legacy

North American Land Trust

CHADDS FORD, PA — In an endeavor to preserve historical sites and provide public access to these areas, the North American Land Trust (NALT) recently publicized their acquisition of the 16-acre historic site, the Joseph Davis Tract in Chadds Ford. This property, which played a significant role in the 1777 Battle of Brandywine, was once the residence and workplace of renowned artist N.C. Wyeth.

Steven Carter, the President of NALT, highlighted that the conservation organization, a national trust based in Chadds Ford, plans to conserve the historic property indefinitely. The plan also includes allowing public access as a preserved area, offering educational programs about its cultural and historical significance, developing hiking trails, and establishing a natural habitat for pollinators along these trails. In the long-term, the NALT headquarters will be relocated to the Joseph Davis House.

Carter voiced his excitement about the prospective headquarters relocation to the bustling community in the Village of Chadds Ford, expressing their vision of the preserve as a dynamic historic, cultural, and natural resource attraction that draws visitors from all corners to share in the area’s rich cultural heritage.

This acquisition comes as NALT’s second public preserve, following the public opening of the 72-acre Brinton Run Preserve in 2022. Initially pegged for development, this property, located barely over a mile from the Joseph Davis Tract, was secured and protected permanently thanks to fundraising efforts exceeding $4 million by NALT and its partners.

The permanent conservation easement on Brinton Run Preserve is held by Chadds Ford Township, which will also hold the easement on the newly acquired Joseph Davis Tract. Lacey Faber, the Township Manager, lauded this preservation effort as a testament to their ongoing commitment to conserving open space in Chadds Ford, safeguarding its rich history, and fostering a vibrant community.

Currently, efforts are underway by NALT, in collaboration with historic, conservation groups, and local and state agencies, to raise $3.6 million needed to fully secure the Joseph Davis Tract. One of the pivotal partners in this endeavor is the American Battlefield Trust, which previously played a key role in helping NALT secure the Brinton Run Preserve.

David N. Duncan, President of the American Battlefield Trust highlighted that preserving the Joseph Davis Tract provides a unique opportunity to protect a crucial historical site for future generations, especially considering much of the Brandywine Battlefield has already been lost to development.

This tract, nestled along Baltimore Pike, was the central part of the main defensive line of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War Battle of Brandywine. The American forces, despite an eventual retreat, fiercely engaged British forces here on Sept. 11, 1777.

One of the significant features of this 16-acre property is the historic Joseph Davis House, constructed originally in 1725. The house, along with the once carriage house turned studio, was home to artist N.C. Wyeth and his family from 1907 to 1911. Wyeth created several of his major artworks in this studio, finding inspiration from its setting.

The shared excitement about the property’s future and its potential to add significantly to the region’s network of natural and cultural resources was further echoed by Dr. William L. Coleman, Director of the Wyeth Study Center at the Brandywine Museum of Art.

The completion of the sale of this property is targeted for the first quarter of 2025, with NALT and its partners working diligently on fundraising efforts to meet this goal. This serves as a testament to shared commitments and collaborative efforts aimed at preserving our rich historical and natural heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.

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