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Speedwell Forge Restoration

Kathryn Darlington passed away in 1986. Her only son, Bill Darlington, had moved to the other end of the farm and, in 1980, established the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania.

Needing to be near the wolves, the mansion was left vacant for over 20 years. Bill’s youngest daughter, Dawn, was born on the farm and always wanted to live in the mansion. When Bill passed away in 1998, Dawn became determined to realize her dream. In March 2005, after seven years of saving, two years of planning, and one year of cleaning, she moved home and began the restoration, which was documented, with photos, here. In 2006, the property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The mansion was not changed except for the addition of bathrooms and the kitchen island. The windows and floor date to the 1880’s and were fully restored. The slate roof was replaced using 80-year-old Peachbottom slate salvaged by Amish roofers from a barn that was being demolished, and copper gutters were installed.

The electric and plumbing were completely replaced, and air conditioning, telephones, and Internet were added. Almost all of the furniture belonged to Dawn’s grandparents and was fully restored.

Outside, all of the stone was “repointed” (replacing the mortar) and inside all of the walls and ceiling received a new coat of plaster. It took four painters over three months to hand-paint the mansion and cottages. The privy and spring house were also restored.

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