Riverview Farm Foundation



Riverview Farm: The National Park Service UGRR Network to Freedom


On the 1st of April 2009, Riverview Farm was officially placed on the National Park Service Underground Rail Road Network to Freedom, thanks to the unwavering efforts of Robert E. Seeley, a Garrett family descendant. The original Riverview property was purchased by William Garat, and consisted of 202 acres, on which the original home was built in 1688. After purchasing additional acreage, Riverview Farm at one point consisted of 427 acres. During the time Thomas Garrett Jr lived there, it consisted of roughly 284 acres. The Riverview home sat on the grounds of what is now Holy Child Academy along Shadeland Avenue, in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby, PA.

Riverview Farm was the family home of the famed abolitionist Thomas Garrett Jr. Here, at his parents' farm, was where he came face to face with the tenuous existence of African Americans living under the oppressive slave system. A free African-American woman in the employ of the household was kidnapped to be sold into slavery. His participation in her rescue set him on a path to actively change the slave system by assisting over 2700 individuals seeking freedom through the Underground Rail Road from his base in Delaware. Thomas worked with many people including William Still and Harriet Tubman.

As the years passed and the property was divided, other Garrett homes were built. These Garrett homes, as well as the homes of other local Quakers, networked together as safe havens on the road to freedom. One of the Garrett homes, Fernland Farms was the home of Isaac Price Garrett, brother of Thomas. Isaac’s home still stands on the grounds of what is now Arlington Cemetery. This is also the largest tract of Garrett land still intact in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. In 1895 Isaac Garrett’s land was sold to the Arlington Cemetery Company, and his home was used as the office until the new office was built. The home maintains much of its original character and can be seen from School Lane, serenely overlooking 130 acres.