This area of the Arboretum pre-dates the Morrises, when part of the land was used as a dairy farm. Built into a hillside alongside a springfed creek, the Springhouse was used to keep dairy products and other perishables cool. The purpose of the adjacent, larger building located above ground remains a mystery. Its chimney and fireplace have led some to speculate that it may have been used for storage and dairy product preparation, or as a smokehouse. Today, the Springhouse at the Arboretum is one of only a few remaining in Philadelphia.
In 2004, this important historical structure at the Arboretum underwent extensive restoration. Today, this hidden treasure features rebuilt stone walls, including a new 38-foot wall with seating, granite steps and brick paving, new wooden beams to suggest a roof, as well as enhancements to the surrounding landscape and new interpretive signage.
The renovation of the Springhouse complex was made possible with gifts from several individual and foundation donors. The Springhouse complex offers a tranquil, contemplative resting spot with an open view to the trees above and to the nearby Azalea Meadow, while providing a wonderful opportunity to teach visitors about an earlier era.