The 2012 gift comprised 27 acres of land bordering the Ipswich River and included the family home, built in 1786, that had been in the Patton family since 1928. The Patton Homestead is a nationally significant historic property that has the unique history of having been the home of two famous American Generals and of Joanne Holbrook Patton, who has a national reputation as a champion of community service. Joanne Patton is the widow of Major General George S. Patton IV, daughter of celebrated World War II Brigadier General Willard Ames Holbrook, Jr, and daughter-in-law of General George Smith Patton Jr.
In 2014, the Patton Homestead Inc. non-profit was formed to advise the town on how best to use Mrs. Patton's generous gift to serve the community and especially military veterans, who were central to Mrs. Patton's philanthropies and activities for many years. The Patton Homestead Inc.'s mission is to "support and preserve the historic Patton Homestead as a community asset and provide educational, recreational and cultural opportunities."
The PHI has been helping the Town with renovation plans and is planning a multi-year capital campaign to raise funds for the improvements. The Homestead is currently undergoing exterior renovations. Later plans will be to restore the home and surrounding grounds for public use. The restored Homestead will provide an historic environment with interior and exterior spaces where families, the community, and veterans can gather for a variety of events -- business, military, social -- that will honor the Patton family legacy.
Valued features of the Patton Homestead are the Patton Family Archives and memorabilia rooms. In 2018, Mrs. Patton partnered with the Wenham Museum to preserve and curate these materials. The Wenham Museum will maintain these materials in their original location for scholarly research, education and public display.