Ebbert Spring Heritage Park & Archaeological Preserve
Antrim Township, Franklin Co, PA
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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