The Grumblethorpe Fund

Wister family’s Colonial Germantown homeAn Organizational Endowment Fund

Established in 1993, this fund supports maintenance of a Colonial-era estate that was significant in the cultural heritage of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The Difference It Makes

Historic homes need ongoing financial support – not just to cover necessary upkeep, but also to ensure that the home’s place in history can be shared with succeeding generations.  

Annual fund payments from the Grumblethorpe Fund to The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks provide such support for the Wister family’s Colonial-era Germantown estate.

John Wister, a merchant and wine importer, built the home in 1744. His grandson Charles Jones Wister named the home after a fictional English manor in an 1824 comical novel.

“The fund takes much of the financial pressure off both Grumblethorpe as an operating museum and Landmarks as an umbrella organization,” said Brandi Levine, Landmarks Executive Director.

A hope preserved through the Grumblethorpe FundGrowing Support for A Historic Garden

Part of the annual endowment payment maintains Grumblethorpe’s garden in a beautiful layout consistent with its past.

Strengthening A Neighborhood

The endowment also provides operating costs for programs that make the site a valued neighbor.

These include the Grumblethorpe Jazz Benefit (which features internationally acclaimed jazz musicians) and the Grumblethorpe Farm Stand (which supplies neighbors with fresh fruit and vegetables.)

The site also is home to the Grumblethorpe Youth Volunteer Leadership Program, which provides teens with job readiness training and mentoring.

The benefits of have a reserved fund managed by The Philadelphia Foundation are priceless assets in these trying financial times.”

– Brandi Levine, Landmarks Executive Director

A Proud Past

The Wister family owned the home for nearly 200 years, and it was John Wister’s fifth-great-grandson who established the endowment fund through the sale of 520 shares of General Electric stock. Throughout its existence, Grumblethorpe has played a significant role in the region’s history.

A Haven From War and Fever

British Brigadier General James Agnew made Grumblethorpe his headquarters during the Revolutionary War and sought refuge at Grumblethorpe after being fatally wounded at the Battle of Germantown.

Years later, the Wister family retreated to their country home while a yellow fever epidemic raged in Philadelphia.

A Respected Source of Weather Data

Charles Wister recorded the weather three times a day. Those records are still used by Philadelphia forecasters as a benchmark for declaring the hottest or coldest days on record.

Securing A Future

Thanks to the ongoing payments from the endowment, this important Philadelphia landmark will continue to inspire Philadelphians to learn about their history and engage with their community for decades to come.


Learn how you can establish or support a fund like this.
Call 215-563-6417 or email us.

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