Friends of the Wissahickon- 100 Years

This product is available only directly from  Friends of the Wissahickon. Please be aware that it is a small organization and this is very much a specialty item and brand new at May 2024.

This is a special creation, honoring the 100 year anniversary of Philadelphia’s “Friends of the Wissahickon” organization. FOW assists the City of Philadelphia by providing additional maintenance to the Wissahickon Valley Park in northwest Philadelphia… and it’s been doing so for 100 years!

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Green stone in full

Place it in a planting bed or under occasional foot traffic… stand it upright in your garden… or hang it on a wall, to inform, delight and inspire.


This magnificent sculpture captures the highlights of the park and many of the details that FOW helps with. There’s Thomas Mill Bridge (the only covered bridge in a major city); the spectacular Fingerspan metal bridge of Jody Pinto; Devil’s Pool (the troublesome intersection of Cresheim Creek with the Wissahickon); Valley Green Inn and its ducks; and Walnut Lane Bridge arching majestically over Forbidden drive… and a lot more little touches.


Wording and Features (more info and closeups below)


  • “Wissahickon Valley Park” with a catfish on its left
  • “Friends of the Wissahickon” in decorative scrollwork
  • “1924 – 2024”
  • “Valley Green” on Valley Green Inn, with initials ER of builder, Ed Rinker, and a teapot on the sign
  • Thomas Mill Bridge, with sluicing water from upstream dam, post-and-rail fence and wedge, and an eagle overhead (likely from an aerie upstream at Erdenheim farm)
  • ‘Fingerspan’ iron bridge by Jody Pinto, with initials
  • Devil’s Pool, picturesque intersection of Cresheim Creek and the Wissahickon, with a directional signpost on its left, and an old drinking well
  • Walnut Lane Bridge, with initials of architect George Smedley Webster
  • Wissahickon creek at the bottom with two ducks
  • Wooden bench and trail leading up the gorge
  • Wreath of deciduous bush on left and broad-leaf evergreen on right
  • “Bellis 2024”


The stone is available in only light colors, so that as they accumulate dirt over time, the lettering becomes naturally contrasting.
  • Green (from avocado to pure green)
  • Terracotta brown-orange.

Physical Information

  • 18″ x 14” x 2”
  • 9 pounds
  • Made of CTS Cement All (multi-purpose construction material). This is extremely strong and can be stepped on safely if it is fully supported underneath by dirt. 
  • Colors: Several colors and additional treatments such as glitter and metal powder have been used, including terracotta, avocado green, light brown, red, gray, and green.
  • Tinted with weather- and light-stable pigment, fully through the material, not simply a coating.
  • Light colored pigments have been used so that dirt accumulation in the lettering, invariably darkening over time, will provide natural contrast and legibility.
  • Coated with clear spray coating. Reapply as desired, but allowing natural aging and patina is also fine.


Title and Catfish

The formal name of the gorge area is Wissahickon Valley Park. Wikipedia says “The name of the creek comes from the Lenape word wiessahitkonk, for ‘catfish creek’ or ‘stream of yellowish color.’ ” But once you give something the nickname ‘catfish,’ it sticks.

Valley Green Inn

One of Philadelphia’s genuine treasures, a colonial era inn in the heart of the Wissahickon Gorge, showing a teapot on its sign. Built by Ed Rinker, whose initials are on the right. I didn’t even realize the inn’s sign had totally different artwork on each side until after creating my master model. Thank goodness I hadn’t first seen the other side of the sign (with an intricate scene of diners at a table). I’d still be busy sculpting!

valley green inn

Wissahickon Creek and Ducks

Along the entire bottom perimeter is the creek, and there are two ducks looking for free lunch. Aren’t we all? There’s also a bench on the right and old fountain on the left.

creek and ducks

Bench and Trail

Forbidden Drive, and for that matter, the whole park has wooden benches throughout… and they’re maintained by the FOW volunteers. From the bench you see one of the park’s many trails winding up the hillside.

Friends of the Wissahickon, 1924-2024

“Friends of the Wissahickon,” in decorative scrollwork, and “One Hundred Years 1924-2024.”

FOW in scrollwork

Thomas Mill Bridge

Thomas Mill Bridge, with water sluicing through a deteriorating dam just upstream; post-and-rail fence with a supporting wedge (handiwork of the FOW Structures Crew).

And that sluice of water? Some years back I calculated, with my insufficient engineering skills, that the entire US consumes gasoline at a rate roughly 10 times the rate of current shooting through those rocks. Picture a big pipe 10 times the size of that sluice. Hard to speculate on how accurate my calculation is, but I suppose the image is useful if it’s even remotely close.

covered bridge

Eagle and Garland of Berries and Leaves

I saw the eagle myself or I wouldn’t have included it. It was a Tuesday in March, after my shift volunteering at the FOW Structures Crew. I drove back down Wise Mill Road and parked to take a walk in the park. I came upon a small group, about 200 yards west of Wise Mill (toward Northwestern Avenue), pointing at something in the trees. It was an eagle. It was perched on a branch 25 feet in the air, and when it flew away was carrying some small prey.

Some months earlier, on a walking tour around “Erdenheim (a.k.a. Fitz Dickson) Farm” I had seen the eagle’s nest on their stretch of the Wissahickon. Surely this has to be the same family.

Fingerspan Bridge and Broad-Leaf Evergreen Garland

Specacular bridge spanning a difficult rock ravine, built of Corten steel with pre-rusted appearance. Designed by Jody Pinto, initials on right. 

On the right is a decorative garland of broad-leaf evergreen in the perimeter of the stone.

Devil's Pool and Signpost

Picturesque—and deadly— intersection of Cresheim Creek and the Wissahickon, with a directional signpost on its left. Above it is an enclosed,  stone-arch aqueduct for the public wastewater system. 

It seems the pool recently refreshed the credit to its nickname, having swallowed someone on June 16, 2023.

Walnut Lane Bridge

Walnut Lane Bridge, with initials of architect George Smedley Webster; Forbidden Drive and its fence disappearing into the distance.

walnut lane bridge


“Bellis” and “2024.”

Hanging It from a Wall

As with our Gardener’s Stone, shown here, you can hang the stone from a wall using a screw or nail that has a protruding head, such as a drywall screw. If your paver has felt pads on its bottom, ensure that the screwhead is 1/2″ out from the surface of the wall; if no felt pads, 3/8″ should be sufficient. And make sure that the stone is not above anything that would cause extreme damage were it to be knocked off.

Gardener's Stone shown hanging on wood paneled wall
Drywall screw and ruler, showing screwhead sticking out 3/8 inch to hang stone

100% Internal Pigment

Color won't wear off

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