The rambling property of America’s first travel writer is up for sale. The estate in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania was built for Bayard Taylor in 1859 and is a fine local example of Italianate architecture.
When he purchased the land across from his father’s home, Taylor envisioned a picturesque country retreat. He dubbed it Cedar Croft, after the many cedar trees that lined the property. The famed author buried a time capsule beneath the cornerstone of the house, which held a copy of his book “Views Afoot” as well as some coins and a poem.
A renowned explorer, travel writer, and poet, Taylor regaled his readers with tales of his journeys to the Orient, Africa, and Russia. He dreamed of retiring to his country estate in Chester County and settled there in 1859. He dubbed the 200-acre farm Cedarcroft, after the many cedar trees that lined its borders, and buried a time capsule beneath the cornerstone.
Despite his efforts to keep up Cedarcroft, Taylor was never able to realize all of the hopes he had for his estate. The orchards and field crops he planted failed to produce the sustaining income he had anticipated. He also found it difficult to find time to tend to his garden.
In 1893, he sold Cedarcroft to the daughter of a prominent Baltimore businessman. Mrs. Clara Barrington had been a co-heir to Brandon Park, and she was a close friend of the late A. Boyd Cummings. She subsequently moved to another property, and Cedarcroft was rarely visited again.
The house was eventually purchased by James Bachelor Dowsland Edge (1875-1939), a vice-president of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, and he invested considerable resources into renovating the house and gardens. Edge’s British heritage gave him a unique perspective on American life and culture, and his vision for Cedarcroft was one of the most extensive that the house had ever known.
When the Edge family purchased Cedarcroft in 1971, they began an extensive multi-year restoration of the house and its outbuildings. Today, the house is a popular venue for weddings and special events. The main event space is a charming barn structure with double doors, exposed beams, and wooden floors that creates a welcoming, rustic-chic ambience for bespoke celebrations. In addition, there is a lovely patio filled with eye-catching greenery and flora for outdoor ceremonies or reception parties.