Lundale Farm was home to Sam and Eleanor Morris, visionaries and pioneers in the preservation of agricultural lands and historic landscapes.
The Morrises purchased Lundale Farm in 1946 as a place to raise their growing family, which eventually numbered eight children. Sam attended University of Pennsylvania Law School after World War II and began practicing law while Eleanor threw herself into community work.
In time, it was the land and farming that became the focus of their energy and involvement. Concerned with creeping suburbanization and the loss of prime farmland to development, Sam and Eleanor Morris founded the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust in 1967. The not-for-profit organization’s mission is to preserve open space in the two watersheds through donation of easements on private land and acquisition of land for public use. The Trust was one of the earliest land trusts in the United States to use easements to preserve open space and farmland. During their time of involvement, the Trust initiated efforts that resulted in saving over 5000 acres in open space, including 2500 acres that significantly expanded several public parks.
In 1970, Sam Morris was elected to Pennsylvania’s General Assembly, in which he served for 18 years. He was Chairman of the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee for eight years. In the late 1980s, he was the prime sponsor of nationally recognized legislation enabling the purchase of development rights on farms and initially providing $100 million to fund such purchases. Subsequent legislative victories and bond issues to finance the purchase of farmland development rights have made Pennsylvania a national and emulated leader in both the size and scope of efforts to preserve farmland. To date, over 5,329 farms totaling over 552,702 acres have been preserved with funding of $1 billion+ dollars, more than any other state in the nation. Samuel Morris has been called “the father of agricultural land preservation in the United States” by many in the field.
It is the belief of Lundale Farm, Inc.’s Board that this use for Sam and Eleanor Morris’ beloved farm, which inspired their conservation advocacy, rooted their achievements and sustained their spirits, is the highest expression of their legacy of leadership and love for the land.