21 January 2009

Visiting Southeast Pennsylvania Part III

So where were we? Oh, we stopped at the end of January 9, when we finished visiting the Masonic Temple, a building that houses a secret society. Anyway, the day after, January 10, we decided to drive up to Doylestown, Pennsylvania. This is not in Philadelphia, but in the surrounding area. It is an hour away from Reading as well. We had a late breakfast, and so we got on the road at around a little before noon. Then we arrived.

Doylestown was on the itinerary for one reason: to see Fonthill Castle and the Mercer Museum. These two buildings are connected through one man, Henry Chapman Mercer. He was a historian and archaeologist, and a tilemaker as well. His house, Fonthill Castle, reflects his interests. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside, so all I can show you is the outside of his castle.

This is Fonthill Castle. It is big, but once you get in, it is way bigger. Henry Chapman Mercer built this building by himself, designing everything and working with people. He had no architectural background, so inside, the layout sucks. There aren't any hallways, but more like lots of different passages here and there. There are also plenty of tiles from all over the world that are displayed inside the house.

Before I move on, let me show you a shot of some snowy chairs. These are found in front of his castle.

After visiting Fonthill Castle, we went to the Mercer Museum. This is a museum that houses all of the items that Mercer collected. He had a way of cataloging the items, so everything had a number on them. This is a museum that had objects from his days, back then, it was ordinary stuff, and he had to convince people that these objects were worth preserving.

As you can see, the layout was rather bizarre. He had plenty of items to store, and yet not much room. He had things hanging from the ceiling and the wallposts.

So that was basically January 10. The next day was also the last day we were in the area, and we were going to drive back up north to New York. However, before we left, we did a driving circuit, touring the covered bridges of Lancaster County. We saw 6 different covered bridges, driving around a circuit that was 44 miles long.

This one is Herr's Mill Bridge. Obviously, it is not in use. Apparently, it is very fragile, and so they decided to close it for safety reasons.

Finally, this is Colemanville Covered Bridge, the longest and the farthest bridge that we have seen. It is rather long, and still looks sturdy.

So that was my short vacation during the winter. The day after that, classes started.


  1. Looks so foreign suddenly! Snow, North American style architecture... I´m miles away!

  2. Fonthill Castle looks amazing... I wouldn't mind living in a place like that ! ;-)

  3. Zhu,

    I can feel what you are saying. Things are different from what you are currently seeing in Bolivia!


    Ah, I have to say, the outside is beautiful, but the inside is simply crazy. This guy has no architectural training, and so his castle looked like a labyrinth from the inside. Very easy to get lost...