These are scenes that would have been familiar to Bucks County residents in the eighteenth century. If you have comments, corrections, or additions to this page, please contact me at
Pennsbury Manor was built for William Penn (1644-1718) as his country estate. He designed it, and skilled artisans constructed it. Unfortunately, things didn't work out the way Penn had hoped, and he had to return to Egland to sort out his troubled finances. He made only one other visit to pennsylvania. After his death his sons had no desire to rusticate in the country and the buildings eventually fell into total disrepair, and were demolished. This reconstruction was made in the 1930s, based on Penn's own extensive notes, archaeological evidence, and English precedent. [Margaret Bye Richie, John D. Milner, and Gregory D. Huber, Stone Houses: Traditional Homes of Pennsylvania's Bucks County and Brandywine Valley (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2005), 98; there are beautiful photographs, pp. 96-99.]
The front facade faces the Delaware River, because that was the way it was originally approached. The few roads at the time were pretty rough. On the right is the view out the open front door, down the brick path, to the River.
Photos by MJP Grundy, 6/1987.
The Buck Hotel, formerly called Buck Tavern, in Feasterville. At the time of the Revolution it was owned by Phineas Paxson.
Until recently the Buck was still a restaurant but has been so added to and modified that it is hard to see the original building from the outside. I think it may have recently been torn down.
Drawing is from the Bucks County Cook Book.
Bucks County Record Office (in use before 1776), in Trevose. I have no idea if it still exists, but I have my doubts.
Photograph by Aaron Siskind, ca. 1935, printed in William Morgan, Bucks County: Photographs of Early Architecture by Aaron Siskind (Bucks County Historical Society, 1974), 95.
Farmers' National Bank in Bristol, housed in this handsome 1819 Greek revival building, originally constructed as a private residence.
Photograph by Aaron Siskind, ca. 1935, printed in William Morgan, Bucks County: Photographs of Early Architecture by Aaron Siskind (Bucks County Historical Society, 1974), 31.
Washington's Crossing was named for the place from which George Washington embarked his troops to cross the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776, for the surprise attack on British and Hessian troops in Trenton. There was a ferry crossing here from about 1700. Today there is a park on both sides of the River. In Bucks County the 500 acre park includes 13 historic buildings.
Washington Crossing Historic Park, Pennsylvania. [Photos by MJP Grundy, 14/10m/1989]
a few old Bucks County Schools
Green Hill School in Solebury
The Wrightstown "Eight-sided" School is one of the few remaining from over a hundred built in the Delaware Valley between 1773 and 1851. The first one was built in Oxford Valley, between Middletown and Falls Meetings, on the plan suggested by Moses Moon. These 8-sided buildings were practical and within the means of local parents. This one was fieldstone, which was free for the labor of picking up stones and carting them. The major expenses would be the cut lumber for doors and windows, plus glass. There was the door in one wall and windows in each of the other seven wallsmore windows than in a rectangular building. The stove was in the center, radiating heat more equally throughout the room. Taxpayer-financed public schools were not mandated in Pennsylvania until 1834. [Margaret Bye Richie, John D. Milner, and Gregory D. Huber, Stone Houses: Traditional Homes of Pennsylvania's Bucks County and Brandywine Valley (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2005), 76; there are beautiful photographs, pp. 74-77.] Another 8-sided school, this one plastered over the stones, is by the Birmingham Meeting house.
The photo of the "old 8-square" Wrightstown school is by Aaron Siskind, taken in the 1930s. [printed in Bucks County: Photographs of Early Architecture by Aaron Siskind, text by William Morgan (Bucks County Historical Society, 1974), 72.
Middletown Meeting School in Attleboro (now Langhorne). No longer used as a school building.
Photo by MJP Grundy, 1978.
Here are two undated late nineteenth century (?) photographs of the school and its pupils and teachers.
George School, just south of Newtown, was established in 1893 as a boarding school for Hicksite high school boys and girls. The large building with two wings and a center section is Main, traditionally the girls' dorm, and for many years the dining hall and administration offices. To the right and slightly behind is Drayton, traditionally the junior and senior boys' dorm. Farther to the right is Retford, the old science and math classroom building.
A great many fancy new buildings have been added to campus in recent years.
Detail from a post card.
You may view pictures of meeting houses in Bucks County.
This page was updated 2/4/2010