A few weeks ago, we visited The Peter Wentz Farmstead in Montgomery County, PA. This little treasure gained its fame as Washington’s headquarters during the Pennsylvania Campaign in the fall of 1777. For this reason, it has survived in good condition. This leads to its value as a study in English/German architecture and decorative arts.
Peter Wentz was an affluent man of German descent. Judging by the English and German influences in the architecture, he seemed to embrace both cultures. He inherited the farmstead in 1749 and performed improvements to the buildings at that time. In 1969, the Montgomery County Commissioners purchased the farmstead and later began a serious restoration of the property. That was a time when advanced surface conservation techniques emerged. These techniques led to the surprising discovery of bright and bold paint colors on the original surface. Sound familiar? We love those original painted surfaces--especially if they've been preserved by later coats of paint.
In 1777, Washington established a base at the farmstead. During the fall there, he made plans to recapture Germantown (Philadelphia). It’s also where he got news of General Gates’ defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga—the turning point of the American Revolution.
Peter sold the farmstead in 1784 to move to a smaller home, where he died in 1793.