Saving the Indenhofen House
(Photo shows Original Condition)
Property owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Bureau of State Parks and Evansburg State Park
German immigrants Gerhard Indenhofen and his brother Herman built this house around 1713 on the 440 acres their father had purchased from Mathias Van Bebber in 1706. The original deed (Phila. Book E3 6:40, 24, Oct. 1706, 440ac., 88 £-s) indicates that this encompassed the whole village of Skippack. The stone was carried from quarries along the Skippack Creek a little south of the house. The mortar was a simple mixture of Skippack red clay and lime held together by horse hair and rope and sometimes straw. Looking at the inside of the house, these rudimentary ingredients seem to be doing a decent job of holding the stones in place even today.
Gerhard IndenHofen was born in 1687 in Mulheim, Germany on the Ruhr River.1 Mulheim is located in northwest Germany near the border of Holland. Research indicates that this is the area of the old world that many of our early Skippack settlers come from. Gerhard arrived in America with his father (Eberhardt) and mother (Elizabeth nee' Schipboucher), two brothers (Peter and Harman) and a sister (Anneke) sometime in 1698.2 Based on primary church records, the IndenHofens settled in Whitemarsh (Wide Marsh), Pennsylvania.3
On October 8, 1706, Gerhard and his brother Herman bought 440 acres in Skippack from Mennonite Mathias Van Bebber for a consideration that is not mentioned in the deed.4 The brothers separated on May 2, 1723, Gerhard kept the property in Skippack and Herman moved to Lower Providence.5
The house was built circa 1725 and bears resemblance to a few of the other early houses along the Skippack Creek in the stonework signature. In 1736 Gerhard had a grist mill built on the property that he rented to Felix Good. In 1743, he applied for a license to keep a "public house" and also let the house be used as the Skippack Reformed Church for Sunday morning meetings. In 1746, Gerhard died from an apparent flu epidemic and the house went to the oldest living mail grandchild, 9 year old Peter Keiter.6
In 1783, Peter Keiter put an addition on to the house, almost doubling its size and that's the way it looks from the outside today.
The house has had 17 owners in the past 270 years and these occupants made little effort to remodel or change the structure.
In order to continue maintaining and restoring the Historic Indenhofen Farm at the corner of Skippack Pike and Evansburg Road in Skippack we need help from the community. We are a 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organization!
The Skippack Historical Society is a non-profit organization formed in 1967 for the purpose of researching and documenting the many historical sites and rich history of the Skippack Valley, the site of the second inland settlement of the Pennsylvania German people. A driving incentive to organize the group was the impending flooding of the Skippack Stream Valley by the Commonwealth to provide a recreational lake and water source. The Skippack Valley at that time had been virtually unaffected by the modern commercial development and more than fifty of the structures in the Valley had been built before 1800. The society's members wanted to urge the citizens of the area to be mindful of the historical and cultural heritage and take steps to preserve, restore and study it's culture and customs.
One of the first major projects of the Skippack Historical Society was to help raise funds for the McHarg Report, an historical and environmental research study commissioned by the Montgomery County Planning Commission that documented some 200 historical sites. The contribution of the University of Pennsylvania professor Anthony Garvin and historian Christa Wells revealed the incomparable history contained in the physical sites of the Skippack Valley, and stressed that particular attention to these sites was warranted. The planning for the high dam construction was soon postponed and the 3600 acres of the Valley's real estate acquired formed the new Evansburg Historical State Park. Unfortunately many of the historical houses on that land had already been removed.
One of the houses that remained was the Gerhardt Indenhofen house located on the corner of Evansburg Road and Skippack Pike. It serves as the icon of the Villages' history. It is believed to be the oldest standing house in Skippack, and was built by the Indenhofen brothers circa 1725. In 1968, the Society was granted a lease of the property from the State, with the purpose of its restoration. We quickly went to work on stabilizing the house and barn by re-roofing and installing new electrical wiring. Victorian period additions were removed and pole gutters were installed to eliminate rain spouting. Then the plaster was removed from the exterior, exposing the fine stonework, which had originally graced the structure. In 1981 we received a Merit Award from the Federation of Historical Societies for our efforts. (Much more being added to this page! Please stop back at a later date. Thank you!)
Ongoing restoration of the Indenhofen Barn continues with a completed Paint Project in 2018, a New Roof, and Driveway Stone Project, in 2019. In 2020, a major Main Floor replacement project was able to be completed. The many interior displays are available for viewing at our OPEN HOUSE Special Events and upon Tour Reservations. See our contact page above.