1301 West Airy Street, Norristown, PA 19401, US

Combining Passion and Professionalism

Let us preserve your stories!

About Us

Preserving the Past

The Norristown Preservation Society is dedicated to the preservation, celebration and promotion of historic Selma Mansion, its residents and the history and preservation of the the legacy of the Montgomery County seat.

Selma Mansion: Awaiting restoration

History of Selma mansion

   

Selma Mansion, built in 1794 was home to General Andrew Porter and his family. Andrew Porter was a captain of marines in the Revolutionary War, later a Brigadier General in the Pennsylvania militia, Surveyor General of Pennsylvania and Great Grandfather to Mary Todd Lincoln. His son David Rittenhouse Porter was a noted ironmaster and 9th governor of Pennsylvania.

Son George Bryan Porter was appointed governor of Michigan Territory by Andrew Jackson. Youngest Porter son James Madison Porter was a colonel during the War of 1812, railroad president, founder of Lafayette College in Easton and Secretary of War under President Tyler.

In 1821 after the decease of General Porter and his widow the house and property were the residence of the Andrew Knox family. Mr. Knox was a former shipping merchant from Savannah, Georgia who farmed the land until the acquisition of the estate by his son Col. Thomas P. Knox.

Thomas Knox was an advisor to the governor of the commonwealth and president of the state agricultural society. Col. Knox expanded the acreage of the holdings by purchasing surrounding farms. It was Thomas Knox who in 1853 had 44 acres of the land divided into lots and sold precipitating the development of the west end of town. It was also he who added the beautiful ornate portico and balcony to the front of the house resulting in the familiar plantation look to the structure which lasted for over 150 years.

After the passing of Thomas Knox in 1879 the residence and remaining property went to his daughter Ellen and her husband Joseph Fornance. Fornance was a prominent lawyer and president of the Historical Society of Montgomery County. Fornance sold an additional 22 acres of the property in 1902 resulting in further development. 

After the death of Joseph and Ellen Fornance in the late 1920s the Selma Mansion and surviving couple of acres around it were the home of their son Major Joseph Knox Fornance and his wife Ruth Ryder Fornance.

Major Fornance was active during WWI and later president of the Montgomery County Bar Association. With his decease in 1965 and Ruth’s in 1983 the house and property have remained largely unoccupied. 

Get Involved

Renew your membership for the new year.

$10 discount price through January 2019

Victorian Christmas

Saturday 11.10.18 Time 9 am-3 pm

Listen to Carolers 10 am to Noon.

Bake Sale.

Tree decorating.

Craft vendors

On November 10, 2018
 

By appointment and on Special Open House Events

Tours of Selma Mansion

+ Event Details

By appointment and on Special Open House Events

Tours of Selma Mansion

Come visit our building and hear more about the history of our community.

Held yearly TBD

History Day

11:00am - 4:00pm

Selma Mansion 1301 W Airy Street

+ Event Details

Held yearly TBD

History Day

Come experience our building in its prime. Docents in historical costume will be available to walk you through the history we have worked so hard to preserve

11:00am - 4:00pm

Selma Mansion 1301 W Airy Street

Saturday October TBD, 2019

House of Horrors

7:00pm - 11:00pm

Selma Mansion 1301 W Airy Street, Norristown

+ Event Details

Saturday October TBD, 2019

House of Horrors

Kids Under 5 Free

5 - 12, Seniors 60+ and Veterans $3

Adults $5

Active Military, NPD, NFD  Free with ID


7:00pm - 11:00pm

Selma Mansion 1301 W Airy Street, Norristown

Saturday October TBD, 2019

Ghost Stories at Selma Mansion

6:00pm - 10:00pm

Selma Mansion

+ Event Details

Saturday October TBD, 2019

Ghost Stories at Selma Mansion


6:00pm - 10:00pm

Selma Mansion

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Contact Us

Find out how you can help!

There are so many ways to support our mission. Contact us to find out more about volunteer opportunities, fundraising events, and ways to get our message to your community.

Norristown Preservation Society

1301 West Airy Street, Norristown, PA 19401, US

nps@norristownpreservationsociety.org

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