Susquehanna National Heritage Area (SNHA) will soon be protecting the Mifflin historic farm property in York County, Pennsylvania. The 80+acre property was saved in collaboration with The Conservation Fund (TCF) and Preservation Pennsylvania. It marks an incredible grassroots achievement in historic preservation and land protection.
The property features the historic home, as well as crop fields and woodlands and a barn built in 1850. The Mifflin House was built in 1800, and was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Owners Jonathan and Susanna Wright Mifflin worked with both black and white community members to harbor and transport those escaping enslavement. Their son Samuel continued this practice until his departure in 1846. In addition, the fields on the farm were the site of a Civil War battle in late June of 1863, just days before the Battle of Gettysburg.
After a developer proposed demolition of the farmstead for warehouse development in 2017, local grassroots community members reached out to the public and partners about the risks to the property. Preservation Pennsylvania helped slow development approvals, raised statewide awareness about the site, and asked SNHA to help. TCF soon joined the effort and stepped in to purchase the house and farm for preservation in 2022. TCF is holding the property until SNHA secures final funding and assumes ownership by the Fall 2023.
SNHA plans to maintain the historic buildings, while transforming them into a regional visitor interpretive and learning center for the two-county National Heritage Area. According to Mark Platts, president of SNHA: “Conserving and re-purposing the Mifflin House site as a visitor education center and heritage park will welcome travelers to our two-county National Heritage Area and showcase the significant role this region and its people played in America’s enduring Quest for Freedom.”