Mill Grove is the first home of John James Audubon in America and the only true Audubon home still standing in this country. The lovely estate, located in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was owned for 17 years by Audubon's father, Jean, a French sea captain. In 1803, Captain Audubon sent his youthful son John James to Mill Grove to supervise the estate that included a working lead mine.
John James Audubon lived at Mill Grove from 1803 until 1808, when he and his wife, Lucy Bakewell, moved to Kentucky. After the Audubon's left Mill Grove, Samuel Wetherill of Philadelphia purchased the property in 1813. It remained in the family until Herbert J. Wetherill sold it in 1951 to Montgomery County. In April 2003 the National Audubon Society and Montgomery County signed an agreement creating the Mill Grove Audubon Center. The Center is managed by Audubon Pennsylvania, the state office of the National Audubon Society.
Understanding Conservation Through the Art
Certainly no other American artist has devoted such energy and resources to the portrayal of American birds. It is for this reason Mill Grove was designated a historic place on the National Register, and serves as a true living memorial to the achievements of an American legend. Mill Grove Audubon Center is maintained as a museum and bird sanctuary, with 5 miles of marked trails, and welcomes 20,000 visitors a year including scouting groups and local schools. The Center hosts four major public events during the year.
Today, the National Audubon Society strives to connect people with nature within the special context of a national historic site and through the appreciation of John James Audubon's life and art. In the future the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove will tell the story of the stirring of the American conservation movement and the protection of birds, wildlife and habitat through the compelling art of John James Audubon.