Exploring the Mystery of a Euro Castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania
It’s got the mystery and the chill of a true European castle, but Fonthill is 100 percent American. Built between 1908 and 1912 by the eccentric Henry Chapman Mercer, the massive edifice’s six stories are packed with 44 rooms, 32 stairwells, 200 windows, 18 fireplaces and fantastic details swiped from medieval, Gothic and Byzantine architecture. Angles are irregular, walls curvy, hallways narrow, and there is a surprise to be found in each of the nooks and crannies and one-of-a-kind columns. Set in 60 acres of parkland, Fonthill was an experiment in concrete construction, and an ingenious way for Chapman—a moneyed bachelor with a fine education and a fancy for all things old—to incorporate pottery and other artifacts from his worldwide travels into every surface.