Photos taken by Deniane Kartchner
As part of a trip back East our family was able to visit Ivy Mills and take a tour of the Willcox family homestead and Saint Thomas the Apostle. Our guide, Mike Squyres, is a volunteer with Friends of Old St. Thomas who leads free, guided tours once a month in the summer. Mike was so gracious to meet us at the homestead on a Friday morning and tell us about the Willcoxes, William Penn and the beginnings of Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin, paper making, and how they all tie together. We then traveled down the road to the church where we and our children enjoyed learning more about the Catholic faith.
This is what remains of the mill. It almost felt like a monument in honor of the Willcoxes hard work as paper makers and prominent citizens of Pennsylvania.
The painting above shows the relationship of the mill to the clerk's house (which has been maintained and currently (2012) has tenants living there.)
Stairs leading to the entrance of the home. I love the lions' expressions.
Front and rear views of the Willcox Mansion built by James M. Willcox. Most of the original home was torn down when the new home was built; the section on the right in the back is original to the home that Thomas Willcox built.
Inside the front door ... pictures of several generations of the Willcox family. On the far right is Joseph Willcox who wrote the family histories I have found.
Located by the window you can see the altar used when Ivy Mills was the home of "St. Mary's Chapel" (Catholic Mass held in the Willcox home, part of the Saint Thomas the Apostle parish.)
A close-up of the altar. A tag reads: "Early Ivy Mills Alter prepared for Mass celebrated at Ivy Mills November 8, 1997. Archdiocese of Philadelphia Collections".
They had just had a celebration before we came (June 2012) and brought the alter back to Ivy Mills on loan for the occasion.
The portrait over the mantle is of James M. Willcox.
Looking upstairs ... and downstairs.
The home is a restoration in progress. Following are some of the period pieces they have collected.
The following photos were taken in the original portion of the Willcox mansion (built by Thomas Willcox). Notice the oven!
Of course, the bar isn't original.
This is the only picture I took of the outside of the church and it is terrible. :( It's such a beautiful church.
Mike and our daughter ringing the bell.
And the restoration goes on upstairs!
Thanks to Friends of Old St. Thomas for the tour! If you would like to learn more about what they've accomplished and how they have helped preserve Ivy Mills, go to this link: http://www.friendsofoldstthomas.org/