The Freedom Valley Chronicles – Maple Hill

During recent months, there has been much attention at the potential development of a Corson Homestead in Whitemarsh Township.  The focus has been on the property located at Butler Pike and Germantown Pike in Plymouth Meeting.

But there were two other Corson Homesteads in Whitemarsh Township.  One – the Alan Corson Homestead – was developed in recent years as Whitemarsh Station.  The second – the Hiram Corson Homestead – is now in the process of being developed as Maple Hill.

“Maple Hill” was the name given to this homestead by Dr. Hiram Corson.

Sal Paone Builder was the builder for Whitemarsh Station and is now building Maple Hill.

Maple Hill is located on Spring Mill Road, between Butler Pike and Ridge Pike;  a portion of the land also fronts on Butler Pike.

This property includes approximately 10 acres and is being developed into 21 housing lots.  A total of 17 new single family houses are being built here.  The 3 existing houses will remain, and the barn will be set on its own lot.

“All homes will be customized to meet the needs and wants of each individual buyer,” stated Mr. Sal Paone, Jr., Vice President of Sal Paone, Builder.  “We are marketing open floor plans, mostly of a colonial style, but we also have plans with the master suite on the first floor.”

Listed prices for some of the new homes range from the mid $650,000,00s to the upper $785,000.00s with lot premiums and basement options, among other features, also impacting pricing.

Five historic buildings from the Hiram Corson Homestead have been incorporated into this housing development.  One of these buildings is the School House.  Located on Lot 1, this one-room schoolhouse will remain, according to Mr. Paone.

“The Township, Historical Architectural Review Board, and the neighbors all encouraged us to save the homes in the community,” stated Mr. Paone.  “We always planned to do so.  Their suggestions led to the ultimate design which also saved the Barn.”

This is the Estate House at Maple Hill.  It is the main house on the property fronting on Spring Mill Road.  “A large home with high ceilings, a grand staircase, and old world charm,” explained Mr. Paone.  The house is “located on Lot 3, which is nearly an acre.  Many of the original architectural features were updated by the Corson Family throughout the years and still remain today.”

A number of Corsons lived at Maple Hill through the years.

According to a news article in The Philadelphia Times on December 12, 1895, Dr. Hiram Corson purchased this property and built his home, Maple Hill, here in 1833.  A news article in The Philadelphia Times dated March 5, 1896, noted that Dr. Hiram Corson practiced medicine from 1828 to 1888.  He spoke in favor of women being given the opportunity to enter medical school when such views were not considered mainstream in society.

Dr. Hiram Corson built Maple Hill in 1833.

Dr. Hiram Corson also was outspoken as an abolitionist;  he spoke strongly against the practice of enslaving human beings.  He and his family helped house individuals seeking freedom from bondage.

Dr. Joseph Corson received the highest military honor from the United States for his valor.

Dr. Hiram Corson was but one of the Corsons that became doctors.  One of the others was Dr. Joseph Corson, a son of Dr. Hiram Corson.  According to the official website of the Military Health System, “Major Joseph Corson was a physician of considerably high repute, who obtained an exceptional military and medical record during the Civil War and further Army service.  Corson answered President Lincoln’s first call for troops in the Civil War, completing a three-month term of duty and attaining the rank of sergeant.  He returned to school afterward for further study but later joined the Sixth Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, where he was immediately commissioned as an assistant surgeon.  During his duty, Corson was present at battles including Gettysburg and Manassas Gap.  He selflessly dedicated his military career to saving lives and healing the wounded – at one time risking his life to care for over 40 fellow service members stricken with cholera.”

For his exceptional service to the nation, Dr. Joseph Corson was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest honor from the United States for acts of valor while in military service.  The citation for this award noted that Major Corson “With one companion returned in the face of the enemy’s heavy artillery fire and removed to a place of safety a severely wounded soldier who had been left behind as the regiment fell back.”

“The Barn is an incredibly impressive structure,” stated Mr. Paone.  This is “an ideal conversion project which would result in an awesome home.  Post and beam construction could create high ceilings on the second floor.  The Barn is situated on Lot 4 so it could be sold separately and converted into a new home or [could be] purchased with the Estate House on Lot 3, updated and used in coordination with the Estate House.”

According to a news article in The Philadelphia Inquirer dated May 17, 1970, this barn was used by Dr. Hiram Corson to hide human beings fleeing slavery and seeking freedom through the Underground Railroad.

“The White House (affectionately named) is also located along Spring Mill Road,” stated Mr. Paone.  The house is located on “Lot 20 in our community.  This house was updated more recently by the Corson Family.”

This is the Toll House.  The building is located on Butler Pike, near Ridge Pike.

“We find Whitemarsh Township to be an extremely desirable place for people to live, work, play, and their kids to go to school,” stated Mr. Paone.  The Township is “convenient to major arteries and public transportation with great schools, parks, recreational activities, and shopping.”

A new roadway, Catherine Lane, has been built through this property.  The road’s name is from an individual named “Catherine, a dear and loved family member,” explained Mr. Paone.

Planning for this housing development began in January of 2016, according to Mr. Paone,

The Board of Supervisors of Whitemarsh Township approved the housing development plans by a vote of 5 to 0 on September 28, 2017.

Further information on Maple Hill can be viewed by clicking here.

The map and photographs of the four historic buildings at Maple Hill are courtesy of Sal Paone Builder, 2018.

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© 2018 Richard McDonough