The history of Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm begins in the mid 1760’s when the Depper family left their home in the Palatinate region of Germany to begin a new life in America. They sailed from Rotterdam to Philadelphia on the English ship The Betsy, arriving in 1765. After a year or two in Philadelphia they began to make their way north looking for land that they could farm. They settled in Quiet Valley near modern-day Stroudsburg.
In 1780 the Depper’s only child, Katherine, married Johann Ludwig Meyer. Meyer was originally brought to America as a Hessian soldier during the Revolutionary War. Katherine and Johann passed the farm to their son John Simon Meyer who was a carpenter and farmer by trade. He, in turn passed it to his daughter, Hannah, and her husband, Peter Marsh. Their son Peter and his wife, Emma, lived on the farm until it was sold outside the family to Thomas and Ann Hess. The Hess’s rented rooms during the summer to people looking to escape the heat of city.
In 1958 Alice and Wendell Wicks purchased the property from Ann Hess. They intended to develop the property. Yet, when they began to look around at the farmhouse and barn they realized the historical and cultural significance of the site. From the 1890’s modifications to when the Wicks purchased the farm in 1958, little modernization on the property had taken place; there was no indoor plumbing or electricity. Much of the house remained the same as it was during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s along with artifacts and furnishings.
Alice and Wendell Wicks along with their daughter and son-in-law, Sue and Gary Oiler, restored the farmhouse. On July 13th 1963, they opened to the public as Quiet Valley Farm Museum. The first years the farm was only open during the summer for tours. Over the years additional farm buildings have been renovated or reconstructed to present a more in depth interpretation of life on the farm and the impact of technological change through the centuries: a ‘granddaddy’ cabin, outdoor bake oven, ice house, smokehouse, dry house, and various smaller barns and sheds. Later as the farm was used more and more for educational purposes, additional storage was built, along with a modern education building and picnic pavilion. In 1994 construction was completed on a one-room schoolhouse circa 1893.
The original portion of the farmhouse, known today as the ‘Cellar Kitchen’ was dug into the side of a hill and dates from the late 1700’s. It served as the original home. Soon after, a ground-floor bedroom and a loft for the children were added above the cellar. Around 1890, the house saw its next big addition. Part of the wrap around porch was enclosed and became a parlor, and a new kitchen was constructed and furnished with a wood burning cook stove. Up until that time, the cooking for the family was done at the open hearth in the original cellar of the house. The barn that stands today was built during the 1850’s and it is believed to be the third barn constructed on site. It is a beautiful example of a traditional, early American bank barn. The upper barn is made of wood with a mortise and tenon construction, and the lower level where the animals are housed is made of stone.
Interpreters in period clothing use first-person interpretation to portray family members and reenact life on the farm during three time periods to show how technology impacted the lives of farmers: 1820’s in the granddaddy cabin, cellar kitchen, and bedroom, 1850’s in the barn, and 1893 in the new kitchen, parlor, and school house.
Since 1974 Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm is owned and operated as a 501 (c(3)) non-profit, educational corporation governed by a board of directors. Until her retirement in 2001 at the age of 85, Alice Wicks remained actively involved in the management of the museum. Sue and Gary Oiler remained farm managers until their retirement in 2005. Today the farm is open Tuesday through Sunday throughout the summer and for special events throughout the year. These include our major fundraisers of Farm Animal Frolic, Pocono State Craft Festival, Harvest Festival and Old Time Christmas. We host thousands of school aged children throughout the school year and thousands of domestic and international visitors throughout the summer.
At Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm we strive to educate, engage, and inspire our visitors as we interpret the culture of 19th century farm families, helping them understand the past and the way it connects to the present and the future.