Historic Belmont Mansion provides the setting for the story of the First Pennsylvania stop on the Underground Railroad. In Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, the area was initially a group of farms. William Peters, an English lawyer and land management agent for the Penn family, bought the property in 1742. Peters designed and built Belmont Mansion, and he created formal gardens surrounding the Mansion.
Richard Peters, William's son who inherited the house, served as Secretary of the Board of War for the Revolutionary Army and Pennsylvania Delegate to Congress under the Articles of Confederation.
Many Founding Fathers stayed at the Mansion at this time, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Richard Peters served in a variety of positions, including Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Pennsylvania State Senator and Judge of the United States District Court. He also was an environmental scientist, and he converted the Belmont Estate into a working model farm to promote scientific agriculture.
Judge Richard Peters was also a member of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery. Notably, he opposed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.
Mrs. Audrey Johnson-Thornton and The American Women's Heritage Society are the curators preserving this "jewel" of American history through stewardship of the property and grounds.