Beautifully situated in the heart of historic Willistown Township, Chester County, Delchester Farm is one of the premier properties of Philadelphia's Main Line. The estate’s grand drive offers a panoramic view of rolling pastures and horses. Consisting of 24 acres with multiple farm buildings the property was extensively renovated starting in 1998.
The original two-story main house was constructed c. 1795 for Charles Willing, one of the financiers of the Revolutionary War. A distinct feature of the main house, the large windows on the first floor contain eight panes over twelve, and those on the second floor are six panes above nine. The extraordinary appearance of the oversize windows on the south façade along with the 10' ceilings may have been what inspired the reference to an "elegant stone house" in the 1796 Willistown Township tax assessment.
In 1913, Thomas G. Ashton, a physician from Philadelphia, who had married the heiress to the Baldwin Locomotive fortune, assembled multiple farms exceeding 1,400 acres. He called the aggregate "Delchester Farms" and the main house became the centerpiece of his estate.
Ashton began farming his estate by raising purebred Percheron horses, champion pigs and dairy cattle. In the 1920s, Delchester Farm distributed its own milk, and in the 1940s, the farm joined other local dairy farms in selling direct to Abbott's Dairies in Philadelphia.
Ashton was followed in the 1920s by Atwater Kent and other gentleman farmers who bought adjacent farms. Many of them were foxhunters and began to encourage Radnor Hunt to move to Willistown. Ashton expanded the large array of farm buildings and improved and enlarged the main house. R. Brognard Okie worked on the main house and may have been the architect for the garage with servants' quarters and for rebuilding the barn after a fire in 1932. An extensive renovation and additions were undertaken in 1946 to the main residence. The entrance hall, living room and conservatory were added at that time. Beginning in 1998, further renovation was undertaken. At that time the kitchen addition with breakfast room and master bedroom were added and the first and second floors extensively remodeled.
The original stone house on the property, which later became the tenant house, was built by Mordecai Yarnell, shortly after he acquired the property in 1739. Since Ashton acquired the property the main house has only transferred twice in the last 100 years. Adjacent and surrounding properties are under conservation easement.