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Fonthill, Doylestown

4.5
#1 of 8 in Historic Sites in Bucks County
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, 10 bathrooms and one powder room. 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, 10 bathrooms and one powder room. The interior was originally painted in pastel colors, but age and sunlight have all but eradicated any hint of the former hues. One room in the Terrace Pavilion (built on the site of the former home's barn), has a restored paint job so visitors can view the home's former glory. The castle-home 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.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
354 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • August 8, 2017
    Let me preface this review by stating that I have visited any number of house museums in the States and in Europe. Of all the house museums I have visited, Fonthill is the most enchanting and unique. ...  more »
  • August 8, 2017
    The castle at Fonthill is really worth a trip inside. You get a glimpse of life at an earlier period of time, and learn a lot about the family history as well as the history of the area. It is a fasin...  more »
  • August 8, 2017
    After visiting the Moravian Tile Works (built by Mercer), we went next door to Fonthill Castle. This is a very interesting house that is built entirely of concrete. That alone is unusual but during th...  more »
Google
  • June 20, 2017
    This place is not only beautiful, but their guides give a very lovely tour. I have been twice, once in my early teens, and then this past weekend with my parents. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour--Blake was our guide. Even though it was a very warm and humid day, they had fans placed throughout to keep air circulating in the old building.
  • April 16, 2017
    This is an amazing castle. The poured concrete outside may make it look ugly from outside. But the design and decor inside is quite unique. Henry Mercer loves to show off the tiles he sells. The 44-room mansion is mostly hand built and travels like a maze. Plus it's pretty fire proof and can last long. There is a barn next to it and a tile factory with similar design ( a couple more dollars for admission). We might go to the tile shop next time. The tour guides are very knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating to young children.
  • June 9, 2017
    The castle, grounds and outbuildings are absolutely incredible. Tile from head to toe, every surface handcrafted to the highest degree. The tour is very nice, only showing a small portion of the home, however educational and descriptive of the man who built Fonthill. Our tour guide Vance, however, lacked the social skills and personality to make this a perfect 5 star visit. He was routinely rude to our group, seemed flustered to answer questions, and rushed us through, ending with "this is the exit, goodbye". Overall, the allure of the history and building (including how it was mixed by hand around the original farmhouse!) was enough to earn 4 stars, and I'll definitely return to visit his museum which is located in Doylestown as well.
  • July 10, 2017
    Fascinating building and creator! Our tour guide Stephanie was very knowledgeable and responsive to questions. A great followup to Mercer's museum.
  • March 12, 2017
    Highly recommended from me and the two others I brought. Our tour guide Joe was very well spoken and polite. Very knowledgable. Beautiful architecture and tiles from around the world. Quirky staircases all over. We're going back again for a second tour which they only offer twice a year at night.

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