When we think of castles we think of those dreamlike fortresses high in the mountains of Bavaria….or possibly from our imagination forged from a Grim fairytale……we think we have to travel to far off lands to see such beauty…..or its frightening history…..we never think we could see castles right here at home – especially in Pennsylvania!
Folks always think of PA as beautiful mountains and farmlands, skiing and fishing, but would you believe we have our very own castles!
Our first castle is one of my favorites maybe because I grew up just a few miles from it…and remember going into it so many times….so close your eyes and think “Castles”…….
The Grey Towers Gifford Pinchot Castle is located in Milford, Pa. just over the Delaware River from New Jersey in northeastern Pennsylvania. Grey Towers was built by Gifford Pinchot’s father James in 1886 and was the Pinchot family home until 1963 when it was donated to the United States Forest Service. Gifford Pinchot was the first director of the US Forest Service and was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania. Grey Towers today is a National Historic Site operated by the US Forest Service and open to the public for tours.
The Glencairn Castle Museum is located at 1001 Cathedral Road right in the heart of Bryn Athyn in eastern Pennsylvania just northeast of Philadelphia. Glencairn Castle was built from 1928 through 1939 by millionaire businessman Robert Pitcairn and his wife Mildred Glenn and the name is a blending of their names. After Mildred died in 1979 the castle was given to the Academy of the New Church and today Glencairn Castle Museum houses over 8,000 mainly religious pieces of artwork from ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, medieval Europe, Islamic, Asia and even Native American.
The Eastern State Penitentiary Castle is located in Philadelphia. The Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1829 and housed prisoners until 1971. Willie Sutton and Al Capone are two of the most famous inmates that were housed in this castle like prison. Today the Eastern State Penitentiary is a museum open daily to the public for tours and has been used to film such TV shows as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and MTV’s Fear as well as such movies as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This castle prison is reportedly haunted and full of paranormal activity.
Grey Towers Castle is located on the campus of Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania in the extreme southeast part of the state. Grey Towers Castle was built in the late 1890’s by architect Horace Trumbauer, whose firm helped build the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for sugar millionaire William Welsh Harrison. The castle was designed to resemble Alnwick Castle in England and was built to replace Harrison’s Rosedale Hall home which burned to the ground on the same site in 1893. The estate was purchased by Arcadia College in 1929. Harrison was reportedly a philanderer and had secret passageways built into the castle to conduct his affairs with his mistresses including many female servants and maids.
Fonthill Castle or Home is located right in the heart of Doylestown, Pennsylvania in Fonthill Park. Fonthill was built by tile maker and archeologist Henry Chapman Mercer in 1912 as his home and he filled Fonthill with artifacts he collected from around the world. Today Fonthill Castle or Home is a museum open to the public.
Have you ever looked into how many castles are in your area? It would be fun to see just how many we have right here in the US……we don’t have to travel to Scotland and England to see such majestic structures……we just have to take a day trip….or close your eyes … per chance to dream?