Welcome to the La Salle Local History Web Page!
Surely few college or university campuses in America occupy land with such a long,
rich, and diverse history. Here are just a few highlights:
- William Penns colonial secretary, James Logan (who came to America in 1699), owned
what is now La Salles south campus. To Logans home "Stenton" (still
standing and owned by the City of Philadelphia) and its lands (now, in part, our lands)
came George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, the Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson,
James Monroe, James Madison, and many others.
- During the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown, British General Howes troops
camped on what is now our south campus.
- Famous colonial portrait painter Charles Willson Peale ("second only to Benjamin
Franklin as Philadelphias 18th century Renaissance man") lived at
Belfield Mansionstill standingfrom 1810 until 1821. Belfield Mansion, partly
dating from 1708, is one of the oldest university buildings in use in the country.
- Land between Belfield Mansion and Connelly Library (now the site of our tennis courts)
was described in 1910 as a sacred spot for the sport of cricket in America: "The
memories of these days are precious, and it would seem that Providence had preserved this
lovely spot intact for the sentimental old cricketers, as the Magna Charta and the Liberty
Bell are preserved. . . ."
- St. Mutiens Christian Brothers Residence (known as "Little
Wakefield" when it was built in 1829) was the home of Thomas R. Fisher,
"credited with being first in the United States to conduct and successfully manage an
organized mill in which a number of employees were engaged with steady work at good rates
of pay." One of the millraces for the "Wakefield Mill" is still visible
near our Communication Center.
- Owen Wister, author of The Virginian--the first "Western," met his wife
in what is now La Salles Fine Arts Studio.
We invite you to discover more about La Salles local history and suggest that you
start with three articles presenting an overview: "Three Centuries on the South Campus,"
"Charles Willson Peale at Belfield,"
and "The Remarkable Wisters at
Belfield." Then you can explore the more detailed accounts of the people, events,
and places associated with this land.
A 12-minute video, Peale at Belfield: Gardener, Farmer, Painter is available in the Media
Services Department of Connelly Library.
For more information on related topics, please visit these links:
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