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Eden Hall Farm Records

Identifier: 2008.001


  • created: 1881-2007
  • Other: Date acquired: 03/20/2012


Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions have been placed on a portion of Series VI due to medical information on female visitors from the 1940s-1960s.  Otherwise, this collection is open for research use and may be accessed on-site from the Archives of Chatham University in the Jennie King Mellon Library.

Biographical or Historical Information

Sebastian Mueller was born in Bismarck in 1860. After serving the required time in the military, Mueller moved to Pittsburgh, PA in order to work at the factory of his cousin, H.J. Heinz. Mueller began his career at the H.J. Heinz Co. as a general laborer, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a Senior Vice President. In 1888, Mueller married the sister of H.J. Heinz, Elizabeth Heinz. The two would have three children together, two of whom died in early childhood and a son who died in early adulthood. In memoriam of his two young daughters who passed away, Mueller began to buy tracts of land in the area of Glenshaw, PA in order to open a convalescence home in Glenshaw, PA. The home was opened in 1922 under the name "Elsalma Terrace." Mueller intended female workers of the H.J. Heinz Co. to use this property after an illness or surgery. This home continued in operation until 1935. Upon the death of his wife in 1934, Mueller moved into the Elsalma Home and began plans for a more elaborate vacation and convalescence home for the female employees of H.J. Heinz Co. Growing older himself, Mueller dictated his express wishes for the continuation of his project in a will and appointed men as trustees of Eden Hall Farm. Other than minor bequests, the entirety of Mueller's estate went to establish Eden Hall Farm.       Although Eden Hall Farm was officially created in 1939, the farm did not open to guests until 1951 after construction was delayed due to the country's involvement in WWII. Eden Hall Farm operated for the next thirty years as a non-profit corporation and any female employee of H.J. Heinz Co. could spend vacation and convalescent time there. In 1969, the Internal Revenue Service challenged the nonprofit status of Eden Hall Farm as the trustees had voted to allow female employees to bring guests from outside Heinz Co. to accompany them during their stay. In a 1973 lawsuit, the courts ruled in favor of Eden Hall Farm, who was granted a return to tax exempt status as a non-profit organization. In 1983, all of the net assets of Eden Hall Farm were transferred to the newly created Eden Hall Foundation, while Eden Hall Farm remained in existence for the sole purpose of a recreational home for working women. In the years to follow, the expenses to operate Eden Hall Farm would exceed the income the trust account created following the death of Mueller.  In an August 28, 2003 Order of Court of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, a decision was made to allow Eden Hall Farm to remain open as a vacation home for women until 2007. If, by this time, the farm was unable to secure sufficient financial funds or contributions that would allow it to remain open, it would be turned over to the Eden Hall Foundation.  In 2008, the Eden Hall Foundation gifted Eden Hall Farm to Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA with a mission to promote sustainability and empower women. Historical Timeline: 1860: Sebastian Mueller born in Bavaria 1884: Mueller immigrates to Pittsburgh, PA and begins work at F & J Heinz Co. (Predecessor to H. J. Heinz Co.) 1888: Mueller marries Elizabeth Heinz 1892: Both of Mueller's young daughters succumb to diphtheria 1893: Son, Stanford Leland, born 1912: Stanford contracts scarlet fever and pneumonia and passes away 1912: Mueller recovers from the death of his son at a spa in Germany 1912: Mueller returns to Pittsburgh and begins purchasing property in Richland Township to raise horses and host company recreational activities 1922: Mueller purchases "Elsalma Terrace," a home named after his daughters and used for the purposes of a convalescent home for female employees of Heinz. 1934: Death of wife, Elizabeth 1935: Mueller begins to work on a more elaborate vacation and convalescent home for female employees. 1937: First labor strike begins and ends at Heinz 1938: November 17, death of Mueller 1939: Eden Hall Farm officially created 1951: July 1st; The Lodge at Eden Hall Farm opens to female guests 1973: Eden Hall Farm v. The United States of America 2008: Eden Hall Foundation transfers property to Chatham University

Note written by


33.67 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into seven series.

Source of Acquisition

Eden Hall Foundation

Method of Acquisition

Materials were acquired by the university with Eden Hall Farm in 2008 and found on site.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Jennifer Howard and Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Chatham University Archives Repository

Woodland Road
Pittsburgh PA 15232 US