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Fonthill, Doylestown
(4.4/5 based on 300+ reviews on the web)
Fonthill, also known as Fonthill Castle, was the home of the American archeologist and tile maker Henry Chapman Mercer, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Built between 1908 and 1912, it is an early example of poured-in-place concrete and features 44 rooms, over 200 windows, 18 fireplaces and 10 bathrooms. The home was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.HistoryFonthill was the home of the archeologist and tile maker Henry Chapman Mercer. Built between 1908 and 1912, it is an early example of poured-in-place concrete and features 44 rooms, over 200 windows, 18 fireplaces and 10 bathrooms. The interior was originally painted in pastel colors, but age and sunlight have all but eradicated any hint of the former hues. It contains much built-in furniture and is embellished with decorative tiles that Mercer made at the height of the Arts and Crafts movement. It is filled with an extensive collection of ceramics embedded in the concrete of the house, as well as other artifacts from his world travels, including cuneiform tablets discovered in Mesopotamia dating back to over 2300 BCE. The home also contains around 1,000 prints from Mercer's extensive collection, as well as over six thousand books, almost all of which were annotated by Mercer himself.The home was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was later included in a National Historic Landmark District along with the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works and the Mercer Museum. These three structures are the only poured-in-place concrete structures built by Mercer. The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works is located on the same property as Fontill, and the Mercer Museum is located approximately one mile away. Water and pollution have caused damage to all of the structures, none more so than at Fonthill, where replacement of damaged windowsills is almost an annual event.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • History, architecture, and pottery geeks will be in heaven. It was a nice tour, guided because the maze of rooms and hallways would probably make you get lost. Tour lasted about an hour. Price of admi...  more »
  • This is an odd and very unusual castle. It is made entirely of hand-mixed concrete. The walls and ceilings are adorned with many tiles made in his tile factory and also from tiles imported from around...  more »
  • This castle is completely made of concrete. Tiles inlaid throughout. A tour guide was very helpful in understanding how the castle came about. 
Google
  • Not even remotely worth the ticket price. Between the museum and castle, it's expensive to see someone else's collection of unmarked, unlabeled turn of the century clutter. The tile is ugly and looks like it was made with a play doh fun factory so, if you're not into that, don't waste your money. The only thing I was hoping for was to maybe get some photos of the interesting architecture of the castle itself but guess what? No photos allowed! Super pretentious. It was my least favorite place in all of PA.
  • I did not tour Fonthill just because they wanted to charge you $40 for a permit to take photographs. I felt the admission charge was fair...we have been touring many castles and old mansions...many larger than this one... in upstate New York this month and the admission fee was right in line...but not one of them tried to charge us to take photos. The funny thing is I found out about Mr. Mercer, his museum and tile factory from PHOTOS a friend posted on Facebook!
  • Good experience, however, pricey photo permits being required for non-commercial photography is NOT the way to increase popularity. Quite the opposite. Casual photographers using your grounds is free media content and publicity, it's absolutely what you want...
  • Loved it. Very interesting. Worth a visit.
  • Loved going here as a kid and love taking people from out of town here and to the Michener Art Museum.