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Mill Grove (John James Audubon House)

Audubon, Pennsylvania
County of Montgomery.
Pawling Road
National Register Number: 72001138
Resource type: Building.
Property type: Domestic - single dwelling. The threat level was Watch in
Congressional District: PA-13 Certified Local Government: NO
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Current use/information: Museum.

Statement of Significance (as of designation - May 5, 1989):
John James Audubon (1785-1851), famous American naturalist and artist, lived in this 2 1/2 story fieldstone farm house from 1804 to 1808. It was here Audubon made his earliest observations of the birds of America, conducted his experiments in bird-banding, and painted artistic renderings of his wildlife subjects.

One of the last intact farm fields from the Audubon ownership era, important in defining the historic nature of Mill Grove, is being used as a ball field. The recreation association has petitioned the town for lighting for night games and parking lots, but been turned down. Such incompatible enhancements would threaten the integrity of the Landmark.

The Manse is badly deteriorated but has been leased to the National Audubon Society for an Audubon Center and hopefully improvements will be made. Plumbing problems have posed a threat to valuable Audubon paintings some of which have been sent out for restoration. The only toilet facilities are portable toilets on the premises plus one very old and undependable toilet for women. Funding from the County is not enough to cover maintenance of the site.

Recommendation/Change since last report:
Constant monitoring on the part of the National Park Service, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Friends' group, and preservation-minded local officials is required. The establishment of a restrictive easement to halt further development should be pursued. The building needs a condition assessment report and funding for identified repair and restoration.

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