Ebbert Spring Heritage Park & Archaeological Preserve

   

Ebbert Spring Heritage Park & Archaeological Preserve

Antrim Township, Franklin Co, PA


History of Allison-Ebbert House written in 1936


In 2010, The Archaeological Conservancy (a national 501(c)(3) organization) acquired from a developer a 3.4-acre parcel – a portion of Ebbert Spring, “a multi-component site with artifacts spanning from the Paleo-Indian period to the 19th century.”  On August 29, the Conservancy acquired five more acres known as the Bonnell parcel, which includes “the heart of the prehistoric component of the site,” including an 18th century farmhouse and reconstructed springhouse. 


On August 30, 2017, Andy Stout, Greencastle native and Eastern Regional Director of The Archaeological Conservancy (TAC), and Bonnie Shockey, President & CEO, on behalf the board of directors of Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc (AAMI), signed a 99-year lease between TAC and AAMI, which transfers the care of the standing structures, within the Ebbert Spring Heritage Park & Archaeological Preserve, to Allison-Antrim Museum.  The original house (left side), with three-feet thick walls, was built c. 1753 by William Allison, father of John Allison, founder of Greencastle.

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Archaeology

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Ebbert Spring was  first  excavated by a chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology in 2003 .


 Over the course of the next ten years they recovered  tens of  thousands of  historic items and prehistoric lithic, ceramic, and bone artifacts at the site ; as well as various intact features such as postmolds, hearths , and refuse pits predominantly from the Middle and Late Woodland periods.


The prehistoric component of the site  helped  redefine thinking  about how prehistoric people utilized this portion of the Great Appalachian Valley. Most Native American  habitation  areas in the region have been found near tributaries  of  the  Potomac River, but Ebbert Spring is one of several documented sites in the valley located next to springs.

House

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The house was built in the 1750's by William Allison, father of John Allison, founder of Greencastle 


 It was the wish of the late Al Bonnell, last owner of the property for 50 years, that the grounds, structures, and archaeological artifacts, and its archaeological history be preserved not only for the Greencastle-Antrim Community-at-large but also for Pennsylvania and American History.  


Springhouse

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 The archaeological sites have been dubbed a "super site" by the state.  The artifacts range from prehistoric to early contact with white men.  The archaeological artifacts are housed in Allison-Antrim Museum’s climate-controlled storage area.   

  




The Archaeological Conservancy  will create trails with archaeological, historical, geological, ecological, and environmental history kiosks throughout the property. The trails will be completed by Old Home Week 2019. 

History of the Ebbert House

1936

On the Middleburg road, about two miles from  Greencastle, stands an old stone house in which Mrs. Ebbert now resides  (1936), which was the former home of James Allison, the last member of a  distinguished family intimately connected with the history of  Greencastle.

William Allison, the ancestor of this family in  this country, came from the north of Ireland to Lancaster County in the  early part of the 18th century. He bought a large tract of land in what  is now Antrim Township from John Smith in 1763, and conveyed by deed  three hundred acres of this land to his eldest son, Colonel John  Allison.   Col. Allison served with distinction in the Revolutionary war  and at its close returned to Antrim Township and laid out the town of  Greencastle in 1782, naming it after Greencastle, a large fishing  station in the County of Donegal, Province of Ulster, Ireland, near  where his father had lived.


A second brother, Patrick Allison, graduated from  the University of Pennsylvania in 1760 and studied for the ministry of  the Presbyterian church.  Dr. Samuel Stanhope Smith, then resident of  Princeton College, described him "as the ablest statesman in the General  Assembly of the Presbyterian Church."


A third son, Willliam Allison, lived and died on the maternal farm and took great pride in the old home.


William Allison, Sr., was among those who met at  Edward Shippen's house in Shippensburg to confer with regard to the  erection of five forts in the county as a protection against the  Indians, and Fort Allison was soon afterwards erected west of the present town of Greencastle 


The Ebbert home is of stone and was the first house in  the locality to have "fire" or double walls. These walls were  almost  three feet thick and built for all time, in contrast with the flimsy  walls of modern construction one brick thick with a coating of plaster  board.

The entrance hall is at least fifteen feet wide,  with lofty double parlors opening out on it. The rooms upstairs and down  are of fine proportions, with the usual carved wooden mantels,  cupboards and chairboards.  One of the charms of the old place is the  beautiful spring with a stream of water flowing from it. In the early  days a stockade was built over portion of this spring where the family  could retreat in case of a sudden attack by the indians. There were  provisions and ammunition stored here and water was available in case of  a siege.

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