This simple brick two-story sits along Main Street, oblivious to the decades that have passed since it was the family home of Zelie Basse Passavant.
After losing much of his fortune during the Napoleonic War, Baron Detmar Basse left Germany and purchased 10,000 acres in what is now Butler County.
By 1809, Basse had sold half of this land to the Harmony Society (Georg Rapp's religious group) and set about establishing a 'farming and mercantile interest' for himself.
The Baron founded a town on the remaining acreage naming it after his favorite daughter, Zelie. After she married fiance, Philip Passavant, Basse encouraged them to join him here, enticing them with a lovely brick home he had constructed for them.
The Passavant home is now part of the Zelienople Historical Society. The structure was described in early records as being 'three bays wide and two deep with a centrally located doorway, flanked by two reeded pilasters supporting a full pediment' and said to be designed in the Georgian Philadelphia style.
Its size was doubled when a two-story frame addition was added around 1820. Later in 1915, a two story bay window was added to the end of the north gable and a classic Greek Revival porch (pic #2), which contributed such a graceful element to its design and is my favorite view of the home!
Inside, Zelie's former home has most of its original woodwork, paneling and fireplace mantles. You can just imagine the lovely place it was when she lived here. Christmas is an especially wonderful time to visit, when the home is gussied up for the holiday.
Tours: June-September Wednesday and Saturday, beginning at 1:00 pm and 2:30 p.m. about 45 minutes each (Wednesday the tour begins at the Passavant House; Saturday the tour begins at the Buhl House--see further tip). A small donation would be appreciated.
As you explore the streets of Zelienople, you'll notice this fine old building on Main Street up a few doors from The Passavant House.
Constructed in 1805 by Christian and Fredericka Dorothea Goehring Buhl, this house is the oldest exisiting building in Zelienople. A stream where the family's water supply was drawn from, still runs through the backyard.
The Buhl House offers visitors rotating exhibits on local history and the opportunity to view a few artifacts from the Civil War. This the place where you can go for information on scheduled events and activities, since the Zelienople Historical Society is located here.
My favorite event is Luncheon on the Lawn, held on the grounds of the Passavant House. This yearly event fills up fast, so reservations are required! The historical society also holds a local arts show, Christmas Home Tour and Trash & Treasure Sale.
When combined with a tour of The Passavant House, you'll learn some Butler County history and peek into the lives of two early Zelienople families.
Tours: June-September on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1pm and 2:30 p.m. A small donation would be appreciated. A small gift shop is opened on Saturdays and special events from 1pm-3pm.
Antiquing in the Zelienople and Harmony area was a real joy since both communities had a wealth of interesting shops! I spent many afternoons driving from one antique shop to another, searching for items to furnish our 130 year old Pennsylvania home.
Whether on the look-out for a fine, old piece of furniture to add a bit of character to your home, or a pretty China plate or other vintage accessory, you could find it in any of these area antique shops.
I remember stopping by this old homestead, which I believe was part of a historic house tour at the time. It has a unique feature. A spring runs through its basement, captured as a water source for the original inhabitants. The site is an antique business, whose barn and shed are full of 'treasures'.
310 E Grandview Ave, Zelienople, PA 16063