Follow CBSPHILLY Facebook Twitter
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – Through the trees in Doylestown is a one of a kind place with a one of a kind owner. Fonthill Castle was the residence of eccentric Bucks County native and famed tile-maker Henry Chapman Mercer.
“So this is the library, it’s probably one of the more iconic rooms in the castle. It showcases all of Mercer’s tiles, from his floor tiles to his brocade tiles, which is probably what he’s most known for,” said Heather Hicks, with Fonthill Castle.
Built between 1908 and 1912, Fonthill was built using poured concrete and is filled with an extensive collection of arts and crafts.
“He collects over 60,000 artifacts in his lifetime, all of the different tools and trades that would have happened in pre-industrial America. And he is really interested in what people are handcrafting,” said Hicks.
In addition to the incredible amount of artifacts, Mercer marked each one for easy research.
“They’re all cataloged, and so if I looked up 268, as I said, I can find out where he bought them, how much he paid, that kind of thing,” said Hicks.
After leaving the beautiful grounds of Fonthill Castle, we moved on to the Mercer Museum which houses the remaining collection of Mercer’s memorabilia, in addition to the Bucks County Historical Society.
“The Historical Society was founded in 1880. And then along came Henry Mercer who was one of the original founders of the museum and it was in 1897 that he had this flash of insight that he wanted to begin collecting objects locally,” said Cory Amsler, VP for Collections at Mercer Museum.
Less than two decades later, Mercer put this together a massive structure for his stuff.
“By 1913, Mercer wanted to build a museum to house that collection,” said Amsler. “So, he added the original concrete castle to the historical society on the grounds here a 7-8 story concrete castle to display what he originally called the tools of the nationmaker collection.”
From boats, to statues, to…well, pretty much everything imaginable…it’s a trip back in time in Doylestown.