Daley announces Highlands Mansion preservation through recently passed and signed legislation

FORT WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, announced the transfer of historic Highlands Mansion and surrounding acreage to the Highlands Historical Society as part of S.B. 1214, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf last week.

Daley, whose 148th Legislative District includes Whitemarsh Township and the 44-acre Highlands Mansion and Gardens, has long pursued action transferring the historic site to the Highlands Historical Society.

Working within S.B. 1214 this fall, she was able to finalize this transfer. The bill was ultimately passed by both the Senate and the House before being signed by Wolf as Act 135 of 2020.

“Diligent work by many people who have been involved over a long period of time has paid off, as the HHS now has oversight of this wonderful property located right here in the 148th,” Daley said. “This transfer ensures the preservation of the Highlands Mansion and Gardens, allowing our community to treasure this space for years to come.”

The new law technically authorized the Department of General Services, with the approval of the governor and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, to grant and convey to the Highlands Historical Society the historic Highlands Mansion and surrounding acreage located in Whitemarsh Township for $1.

While HHS will own and maintain the property, Whitemarsh Township has acquired a conservation easement by using $3 million of its Open Space Earned Income Tax Fund, a payment that provides the funding HHS will need for maintenance and upgrades to the property. In the deal, the township will have approval over large expenditures, and HHS will provide regular financial updates.

The historic site features a late-18th century Georgian mansion and nine outbuildings, as well as a two-acre formal garden surrounded by massive stone walls.