Oui Générale: Duportail House a Venue for All Seasons, Reasons
Superstorm Sandy’s wrath spared few in its path, not even a pair of lovebirds with plans for a Long Beach Island wedding on Nov. 3. In a frenzy, the couple was able to relocate its wedding, according to this Philadelphia Magazine post, to Chester County’s historic Duportail House, one of our favorite wedding venues for its history and elegance.
Named for the French General Louis Lebegue Duportail, who was recruited by Benjamin Franklin to serve as the army’s chief engineer, the 1740 stone farmhouse just outside Valley Forge National Park in Chesterbrook is on the National Register of Historic Places and is available for rental for weddings, dinners and other special occasions and small business meetings.
The three acres of ladscaped, pastoral grounds also feature plenty of modern conveniences, like air conditoining, free parking, Wi-Fi, handicapped accessibility and nearby overnight accommodations.
Plus, the folks who manage the facility schedule only one event per day, assuring you’re the star of the show.
If you’re a history lover, you’ll never grow tired of tales of Duportail’s past. Here are some of the more interesting nuggets:
O.G. FARM TO TABLE
Lawrence McCormick, the general manager of the historic Bellevue Stratford Hotel on South Broad St. in Center City, Philadelphia, purchased the Duportail house and property in 1903, using watercress grown in the streams there in the hotel kitchen.
During renovations, McCormick uncovered Duportail’s original map he designed for Valley Forge’s defense in the attick of the house, and since 1908 it has been stored in the collections of the Pennsylvania Historical Society.
The University of Pennsylvania received the property as a donation and there were plans to house administrative HQ for a suburban campus for undergrads, but they were shelved during World War II and abandoned.
BROAD SIDE OF THE BARN
The property’s Federal Barn was built in 1792 by John H. Moor and is the only known bank barn in Pennsylvania to be signed by its builder.
You can check out the Duportail House and many other wedding venues and resources on our Recommends page.
Or if you’re up for a drive, head there yourself when it’s open to the public on Sundays from 1-3 p.m., year round.