The history of a place can be told through the story of its residents, and Pennsylvania is no exception to that rule. Many notable figures, including past presidents and famous artists, have chosen the idyllic Pennsylvanian countryside as their home. Here are ten of the most famous historical estates located within our state.
1. N.C. Wyeth House and Studio, Chadds Ford Township
The famous American painter N.C. Wyeth lived here until his death in 1945. The Brandywine River Museum now offers guided tours of the house, studio, and surrounding land.
2. Woodmont, Gladwyne
In the 1950s, Woodmont became the center of Father Divine's International Peace Mission movement. It still is the center of this mission, though Father Divine is no longer living. There are free guided tours on Sunday afternoons.
3. Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge
During the Constitutional Army's encampment at Valley Forge, George and Martha Washington set up camp at a gristmill owner's house. They lived here from 1777-1778.
4. Fallingwater, Stewart Township
Frank Lloyd Wright's majestic creation, Fallingwater, is famous as one of America's most beloved pieces of architecture. The building appears to levitate over a waterfall amidst the beautiful Western PA forest. Originally built as a home for the owner of Kaufmann's Department store, Fallingwater is now a historical monument and a popular tourist destination.
5. Andalusia, Bensalem Township
Architect Benjamin Latrobe designed this Greek-revival style mansion for Nicholas Biddle, who was president of the Second Bank of the United States. Built in 1794, the estate is now open as a museum.
6. Pearl S. Buck House, Bucks County
Nobel-prize winning American author Pearl S. Buck lived in this Pennsylvania house for more than 40 years while she wrote and gardened. It is now a museum operated by the Pearl S. Buck foundation.
7. Eisenhower National Historic Site, Adams County
President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his family would escape to this farmstead retreat near Gettysburg on weekends. The president would also hold meetings with world leaders here, and his family moved her after his presidency ended. Today, the estate is open for public tours.
8. Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford
Gifford Pinchot was the first director of the United States Forest Service and also the two-time governor of Pennsylvania. He paid homage to his French ancestry with this mansion, which was designed like a chateau. Today, the Pinchot Institute is centered here and continues to carry on his conversation mission.
9. George Taylor House, Catasauqua
Built in 1768, this beautiful estate in Lehigh County housed George Taylor, who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Today, the site is open for tours.
10. James Buchanan House, Lancaster Township
James Buchana, the fifteenth president of the United States, purchased this property in 1848, where he lived for the next twenty years. The estate is also known as Wheatland.
Each of these houses sounds worth visiting, for their architectural beauty and rich historical legacy. What other historical houses have you visited in Pennsylvania?