The mission of the Friends of the Wissahickon is to preserve the natural beauty and wildness of the Wissahickon Valley and stimulate public interest therein.

Dams and Statues


Livezey Dam
Probably built in the mid 1700s, this dam's most recent reconstruction was during the Great Depression by federally funded WPA stonemasons. The Livezey Dam was damaged by flooding during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, when it lost about 2 feet of height resulting in a reduction in the water level by Valley Green Inn.

Magargee Dam
This is just one of the many dams that crossed the Wissahickon Creek during the era of the mills in the Wissahickon Valley. Dams, built slightly upstream from the mills, supplied water to power the waterwheels. This dam powered the Magargee Mill, which was the last active mill in the Wissahickon Valley.


Indian Statue
Fifty yards up Rex Avenue--via a switchback up the hillside--is the path leading to the Indian statue. This kneeling Lenape warrior was sculpted in 1902 by John Massey Rhind. Commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Henry, it is a tribute to the Lenape Indians who hunted and fished in the Wissahickon prior to the arrival of colonists. The dramatic 15-foot high sculpture, which is mistakenly believed to depict Chief Tedyuscung, the most famous member of the Lenape tribe, can also be viewed from Forbidden Drive across the creek if one stands just north of the path to the Rex Avenue Bridge. The white marble statue was designed to commemorate the passing of the native Lenape from the region. For this reason, the Indian depicted in the statue has his hand to his brow looking west in the direction of the departing tribe. Rhind was not concerned with accurate representation since he gave this East Coast forest Indian a Western Plains Indian war bonnet. The statue, which was hauled to the site by workhorses, is situated on Council Rock, the place where the ancient Lenape Indians are believed to have held their pow-wows.

The statue is now more accessible as a result of a joint effort by the Friends of the Wissahickon and Fairmount Park in 2003. With the help of a private donation, FOW hired Fairmount Park stonemasons to construct the steps, plant shrubbery and construct a retention wall on the slope leading down to the statue. Landscape architect Heidi Shusterman designed the location of the steps, which are made of native Wissahickon schist rock. In 2002, the statue was cleaned and restored through a joint effort of the FOW, the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, and the City of Philadelphia along with a grant from the national Save Outdoor Sculpture project.

Erected in 1883, this marble statue of a man in Quaker clothing is situated on a ridge on the eastern side of the Park just north of the Walnut Lane Bridge. Standing atop Mom Rinker's Rock, the nine-foot-eight-inch statue has the word "Toleration" carved into its four-foot-three-inch base. The statue, which was created by late 19th century sculptor Herman Kirn, was brought to the site by landowner John Welsh who is reported to have purchased the statue at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Welsh, a former Fairmount Park Commissioner and U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, donated his land to the Park prior to his death in 1886.

site by Kelsh Wilson / Eastern Standard

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