While preserving the natural beauty and wildness of Wissahickon Valley Park is a top priority, the Friends of the Wissahickon is also committed to restoring the Park's many man-made Structures, which mirror its diverse history and heritage.
Valley Green Inn
The historic Valley Green Inn, which dates back to 1850, was restored and expanded in 2002 through a joint effort of FOW, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR), the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, and the Inn's management.
The Inn, which has been in constant operation for more than 150 years, is the last of the seven roadhouses that flourished along the Wissahickon Creek between 1840 and 1916.
With its new kitchen, restrooms, dining room, bar and patio, the Inn, which once catered to a thriving horse and carriage trade, is now equipped to handle the demands of its 21st century clientele.
During the Great Depression, the Works Projects Administration (WPA), a federal program created to help put the country back to work, employed skilled craftsmen to build park guard shelters, toilet facilities, bridges, and other structures throughout the Wissahickon.
Recognizing the integral role these structures played in the Park's history, FOW has restored several of these buildings, most recently two old Fairmount Park Guard shelters--one on Forbidden Drive at Kitchen's Lane and the other at Thomas Mill near the Covered Bridge.
The historic horse warming shed adjacent to the Valley Green Inn was also constructed during the WPA era. FOW volunteers have restored these warming sheds several times, making it possible for modern-day equestrians to tie-up their horses while dining at the Inn - just as they did in an earlier era. In 1999, the Friends rebuilt the shed after it collapsed. Several years later, a fire burned two large holes in the shed, which FOW repaired. Soon after, a large hemlock tree fell on the building, requiring more repair work. In the fall of 2010, the structure burned down due to an electrical fire during a rain storm. FOW's Structures Crew, led by Mike Souders, rebuilt the Warming Shed with financial support from the Pennsylvania Equine Council (PEC).
The Indian Statue
In 2002, FOW cooperated with PPR, the Fairmount Park Historic Trust, and the City of Philadelphia to clean up the graffiti-covered Indian Statue in honor of its 100th birthday.
Since then, the Friends have worked with PPR to restore the landscaping around the statue and replace the rotted wooden steps with large, flat stone steps leading down to the statue off the White Trail.