Cliveden was built between 1793 and 1797 as the county house of Benjamin Chew, Supreme Court Justice of the colony of Pennsylvania. The house is well-known as the site where British troops were sheltered from attack by American troops during “The Battle of Germantown” in the autumn of 1777. In 1972, Samuel Chew, the last family occupant, donated the house and its contents to the National Trust for Historical Preservation.
In 2002, Cliveden merged with Upsala, a 1898 Federal style mansion and museum directly across Germantown Avenue. Our firm, in collaboration with the Olin Partnership Landscape Architects, developed a master plan to integrate the two properties as an interpretive site. We evaluated the condition and use of multiple buildings, and developed a site plan which broadens the programmatic scope of the combined site. The master plan relocates the visitor center from both properties to Upsala, which is planned to be restored and enlarged to house a small museum store. Upper levels of Upsala will be renovated to become an office for the National Trust and collection storage areas for the important archives and artifacts from both properties. The grounds of Upsala will be redesigned as a garden with new plantings based on archival documentation. Visitors will be led across Germantown Avenue, through the historic Cliveden gate, and up the drive to the front of the house, recalling the American assault on the mansion in 1777.