The Swedish Farmstead is now open! Tinicum Township has completed its improvement of Governor Printz Park and The Swedish Colonial Society has completed its Farmstead reconstruction project. While we’re still adding some finishing touches, we’re ready for your visit. We hold an open house every first Saturday of the month from 11 AM to 2 PM and we’re open plenty of other times too.
The Swedish Farmstead was originally built in 1988 as a living history museum in Bridgeton, New Jersey, in order to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the founding of New Sweden and to show how a Swedish settler family lived. Seven log cabins were built and maintained for about a decade by the NJ nonprofit, the New Sweden Company, many of whose members were descendants of colonial Swedes. The builder was the Swedish craftsman, Gunnar Zetterqvist, who derived his ideas about 17th century log construction from the many well-preserved historical log cabins that stand in his native land. The Farmstead was for years a popular destination for schoolchildren and adults. However, by 2015 the Farmstead had long been closed and in a state of dilapidation. The New Sweden Company decided to try to find a new home for it. Serendipitously, Tinicum Township was in process of making extensive improvements at Governor Printz Park, the very site of Printz’s capitol that he established in 1643. Through the intercession of The Swedish Colonial Society, conversations took place and the township welcomed the idea of having the Farmstead as a fitting memorial of its illustrious colonial history.
The process of dismantling and moving the cabins out of Bridgeton began in 2015, funded by a $10,000 donation from Wade Sjogren, owner of the Bridgeton-based sand company, Whibco, Inc. Each log had to be tagged and so that each cabin could be reconstructed with precision. Then, in 2019, The Swedish Colonial Society stepped forward and pledged to rebuild the largest of the cabins, a 30′ X 16′ cabin called the Main Residence. Highline Construction, an Amish-owned log-building contractor, was hired and by May 2019 the building was up and officially opened on 1st of June of that year. The total cost was $45,000.
Then the Governor of The Swedish Colonial Society, John Tepe, estimated the cost of reconstructing the remaining 6 cabins. He came up with the figure of $177,250. John wrote a grant application to the Crystal Trust of Wilmington DE for this amount and–much to everyone’s amazement–success arrived by Christmas 2019. Highline began building in Spring 2020 and–with the park closed for Covid–by September of that year finished reconstructing all 6 remaining cabins.
Today all seven cabins of the Farmstead stand proudly in the park, embraced by the surrounding community of Tinicum and Delaware County. Volunteer docents–often in period clothing–hold an open house every first Saturday of the month, from 11 AM to 2 PM. In summer we open the Farmstead during the Tinicum Farmers Markets, held every other Wednesday, 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM. We anticipate holding many special events in the coming years, like the Rambo Family 375th Reunion that was held on June 12, 2022. Christmas-time, harvest-time, and midsummer are likely celebratory seasons as well. We are just starting out, but we are conscious of having a serious mission, that of representing the achievements of the colonial Swedes and Finns who first settled the Delaware Valley, brought the log cabin to North America, and carried on peaceful trading with Native Americans.