Thomas Leiper Estate

Thomas Leiper (15 December 1745 – 6 July 1825) was a Scottish American merchant and local politician who served in the American Revolutionary War. He was the first American to construct a permanent working railway by creating a short span on his property in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

Born in Strathaven, Lanark, Scotland, Leiper was educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh, and emigrated to Maryland in 1763. In 1765 Leiper moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and opened a business storing and exporting tobacco. When the American Revolution began, the leading tobacco house in the community was interdicted and legally prevented from trading. Leiper seized the opportunity and expanded his business, soon becoming the principal tobacco agent in Philadelphia, then the capital of the United States. Leiper was a staunch Democrat, and served actively as chairman of Democratic town meetings. At one meeting, he was the first to nominate General Andrew Jackson for the presidency.

His home, the Thomas Leiper Estate, also known as Avondale, is a historic estate located at Wallingford, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. It was built by Thomas Leiper around 1785, and named Strath Haven after Leiper's birthplace in Strathaven, Scotland. The estate includes the following: the three-story, yellow stuccoed mansion house, "Fireproof" vault, communal outhouse, barn, carriage house, smokehouse, warehouse, tenant's house, and quarry.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The Friends of the Leiper House offers weekend guided tours of the house from April through December.

521 Avondale Rd, Wallingford, PA 19086
For tours, phone: (610) 566-6365