Foxburg: From Family Getaway to Tourist Destination

| March 3, 2019

FOXBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Over the years, the Borough of Foxburg has developed into a favored regional tourist destination.

(Photo courtesy GoFoxburg.com)

Located along the east bank of the Allegheny River, about two miles north of the mouth of the Clarion River, the borough of Foxburg offers outdoor recreation, entertainment, fine dining, and overnight accommodations.

Nevertheless, at one time, Foxburg was only wide open land. Then, around 1790, it was purchased by Samuel Mickle Fox of Philadelphia, along with his brother-in-law Joseph Parker Norris and friend George Roberts.

In 1816, the property was purchased by Samuel Fox’s son Joseph Mickle Fox. Joseph established a home, which became known as the Fox Mansion, at the confluence of the Allegheny and Clarion Rivers ten years later. It was to be used as a seasonal home for the Fox family.

Joseph’s son, named Samuel Mickle Fox, inherited the land, and following Joseph’s death, Samuel and his wife Hanna made the Fox Mansion into a more permanent home. Samuel’s son, also named Samuel Mickle Fox, and his wife Mary Rodman Fox moved to Foxburg following the elder Samuel’s death.

The town of Foxburg was founded during the oil boom in 1870. Once the railroad came to the area, Foxburg became a getaway for many other people arriving to explore in the oil fields region. It reached its peak in the early part of the 1870s with a population of over 1,000, though it remained a village until its incorporation as a borough in 1930.

In 1887, Joseph M. Fox first brought golf to Foxburg after discovering and enjoying it while visiting Scotland, establishing The Foxburg Country Club. The five-hole course was increased to nine holes in 1888, and currently, the nine-hole course is considered “the longest in-continuous-use golf course in the United States.”

The Fox Mansion, now known as RiverStone Farm, was purchased by Dr. Arthur Steffee, a retired orthopedic surgeon, in 1999. Dr. Steffee and his wife, Patricia, put a great deal of time and effort into the restoration of the property, as well as the growth of the arts in the surrounding community.

For the first time since the summer of 2008, on Saturday July 14th 2012, the former Fox Mansion at RiverStone Farm in Foxburg, will be opened to the general public.

Dr. Steffee and his wife endowed the town of Foxburg with a number of buildings that house cultural and economic enterprises including The Allegheny Grille, Foxburg Inn, Foxburg Wine Cellars, Foxburg Pizza and Country Store, and the Red Brick Gallery and Gift Shop. These enterprises are a large part of what has made Foxburg into the destination that it is today.

Steve Moores, owner of Foxburg Pizza, told exploreClarion.com, “We’ve seen the overall business in Foxburg grow. We’ve grown every year since opening,”

Business owner Alan Dodd, of Foxburg Wine Cellar, says that Foxburg sees visitors from the surrounding areas and many tourists stopping in to see their quaint little town.

“I’d say Foxburg is definitely a tourist destination. It’s a quiet town, but it has a lot to offer,” explains Dodd. “We get people from Ohio, from Pittsburgh, and of course from the Clarion area and the Franklin area. It’s still kind of a little secret. Not everybody knows about Foxburg, but anyone who comes seems to like it.”

John Soroka, the Executive Director of the Allegheny RiverStone Center, has seen even more of the changes in the community over the years. He and his wife discovered Foxburg 25 years ago before Dr. Steffee and his wife began working to revitalize the area.

“I’m just glad it has developed into what it is now,” noted Sorka.

“I’m really looking forward to the opening of the missing link bike trail between Foxburg and Emlenton. That could be a real economic driver for both towns.”


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