Gilfillan Farm

Spring House

All of the identified structures on the Gilfillan Farm property are in need of varying levels of restoration work. It is the mission of the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair to restore the historic buildsings and reconstruct those that are no longer standing, to the standards set forth by the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Built Pre-1855

The Oldest Building

It is believed that the Spring House was built prior to the Gilfillan's ownership of the farm. it is unclear exactly when the Spring House was built, evidence suggests that it is the oldest structure on the property.

Restoration Work to Date

  • New roof 2009
  • New gutters 2012
  • Cutting and repointing of the stone 2021
  • Repair of water flow 2021

Future Work & Estimated Costs

  • Repair water trough- TBD
  • Floor repair- TBD

A Source of Water

As the farm's original sorce of water, the spring house serves an incredibly important role. It is not only vital for operation of the farm, but it is important for the survival for livestock and the Gilfillan family.

Prior to the Gilfillan's ownership, the tract of land that is now known as the Gilfillan Farm was once owned by the Patterson's. John Gilfillan purchased the land as part of the Patterson land grant. The spring house was already on the property when the Gilfillan's acquired the land, so it is believed that the Patterson's erected the structure to serve as their source of water. However, the Patterson's lived in a log home on the property, so it is unclear whether the spring house was built before or after the home, but evidence suggests that it is the oldest structure on the property.

The spring house is located at a low point on the property and also near the farm house's garage. It follows an underground spring and flows into a trough inside the spring house. The original purpose of the structure being built over top of the spring was to keep the spring water clean from debris, animals, etc. Later, it was discovered that the spring water remained very cold year round which remained captured by the structure. As a result, it was common for people to use spring houses as a source of refrigeration. Items could be stored directly in the water or on the shelves inside the building.

The spring house has already undergone several restorations, some of which were extensive. The Historical Society of Upper St. Clair has plans to complete the remaining restorations in the near future.
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