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Four Mills Barn

The Four Mills Barn ca. 1900​Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic Four Mills Barn and Nature Reserve. Situated on 53 acres of beautiful wooded trails, the barn has served as the headquarters of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association for over three decades.

Designed by prominent Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer in 1891, the Barn was part of a 93 acre estate originally owned by Charles Bergner of Bergner and Engle Brewing Company.

Over the next one hundred years, its’ storied history included five owners, many of whom were prominent Philadelphians like Robert McLean, owner of the now defunct Philadelphia Bulletin. During his residency, thousands of pheasants and quail were raised in the former mansion and released on what became a private hunting ground.

In 1951 McLean sold two acres and the barn to local resident Edwin R. Roberts. Major floods throughout the years eventually left the structure in a state of disrepair. It wasn’t until extensive renovation by Natural Lands Trust that the barn opened to the public in 1971.

Natural Lands Trust (NLT), a valuable partner to WVWA since its founding in 1957, received a generous donation in 1966 of 50 acres from McLean and his wife. This acquisition, along with additional acreage purchased from Mr. Roberts, paved the way for the establishment of the Watershed’s current headquarters on the scenic property, which stretches from Butler Pike on the north to the woodlands across Morris Road, towards Germantown Academy.

The Wissahickon Valley Watershed association moved into the barn in 1976 and converted the building into offices. In 1995 the barn and land were officially purchased by WVWA from the Natural Lands Trust.

We invite you to enjoy the trails from dawn to dusk and to visit the barn on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.