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19 Beautiful Famous Castles in Pennsylvania

Nineteen beautiful famous castles in Pennsylvania most of which are open to the public.

There are many beautiful famous castles in Pennsylvania built by millionaires, towns, counties and colleges including a fraternity that built its own castle back in 1898. Most of these castles in Pennsylvania are open to the public and they are all great places to visit and learn about their fascinating histories as well as the history of the state of Pennsylvania.

Fonthill Castle in Doylestown 

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Fonthill Castle or Home is located right in the heart of Doylestown, Pennsylvania in Fonthill Park at 525 East Court Street. Fonthill was built by tile maker and archeologist Henry Chapman Mercer in 1912 as his home and he filled Fonthill with artifacts he collected from around the world. Today Fonthill Castle or Home is a museum open to the public.

Bowman's Castle or Nemacolin Castle in Brownsville 

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Nemacolin Castle or Bowman's Castle is located at 136 Front Street in Brownsville with the parking lot at the end of Brashear Street in southwestern Pennsylvania south of Pittsburgh. Nemacolin Castle was built in stages on the site of a trading post dating back to the 1790's when Jacob Bowman began construction. In the 1850's Jacob's son Nelson added the castle tower and the place was often called Bowman's Castle. Nemacolin was a Shawnee Indian chief and an old Indian trail was called Nemacolin's Trail in his honor and the castle is on the western terminus of that trail. Today Nemacolin's Castle is a museum open to the public.

Stokesay Castle in Reading

Image Source (Original Stokesay Castle in England)

Stokesay Castle is located in Reading, Pennsylvania at the intersection where Spook Lane runs into Hill Road. The Stokesay Castle in Reading was built in 1932 by architect Frederick A. Muhlenberg to resemble Stokesay Castle in Shropshire, England for businessman George Baer Hiester as a honeymoon gift to his bride. The castle had become a restaurant for many years but was sold off at a public auction in 2009 for $623,850 dollars which included over 43,000 square feet of buildings, over 10 acres of land and the liquor license for the restaurant.

Blossburg Castle 

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Blossburg Castle is located right along Route 15 in downtown Blossburg in north-central Pennsylvania. Really a stone house with a turret Blossburg Castle was built by dentist Harold Keiss in 1909 and contains 7 stained glass windows and reportedly there used to be a cannon protruding through one of the turrets in the tower.

Grey Towers Castle at Arcadia University in Glenside 

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Grey Towers Castle is located on the campus of Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania in the extreme southeast part of the state. Grey Towers Castle was built in the late 1890's by architect Horace Trumbauer, whose firm helped build the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for sugar millionaire William Welsh Harrison. The castle was designed to resemble Alnwick Castle in England and was built to replace Harrison's Rosedale Hall home which burned to the ground on the same site in 1893. The estate was purchased by Arcadia College in 1929 and today serves as a dormitory as well as home to the office of the president and the Offices of Admissions, Enrollment Management, and Financial Aid. Harrison was reportedly a philanderer and had secret passageways built into the castle to conduct his affairs with his mistresses including many female servants and maids.

The Castle at Penn University - Psi Upsilon Fraternity in Philadelphia

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The Castle at Penn University is located on the campus in Philadelphia and is home to the Psi Upsilon Fraternity whose members built the castle in 1898 spending $30,000.

Chestnut Hill College Castle in Philadelphia 

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The main building at Chestnut Hill College in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood in northwest Philadelphia is somewhat castle-like in appearance. Chestnut Hill College is a Roman Catholic college that was an all girls school until 2003 when it became a coeducational school and its address is 9601 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia.

Glencairn Castle Museum in Bryn Athyn 

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The Glencairn Castle Museum is located at 1001 Cathedral Road right in the heart of Bryn Athyn in eastern Pennsylvania just northeast of Philadelphia. Glencairn Castle was built from 1928 through 1939 by millionaire businessman Robert Pitcairn and his wife Mildred Glenn and the name is a blending of their names. After Mildred died in 1979 the castle was given to the Academy of the New Church and today Glencairn Castle Museum houses over 8,000 mainly religious pieces of artwork from ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, medieval Europe, Islamic, Asia and even Native American.

Mercer Museum Castle in Doylestown 

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The Mercer Museum Castle is located at 84 South Pine Street in Doylestown, Pennsylvania right near Fonthill Castle. Henry Chapman Mercer built Fonthill to live in and the Mercer Museum Castle to house his 30,000 plus collection of artifacts relating to life before the Industrial Revolution.

Lindenwold Castle in Ambler

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Lindenwold Castle is located at 701 South Bethlehem Pike in Ambler, Pennsylvania north of Philadelphia. Lindenwold Castle was built in the early 1900's by Dr. Richard V. Mattison who founded Keasby and Mattison Company which produced asbestos insulation products. Today Lindenwold Castle is the home of St. Mary's Villa for Children and the castle was used to film two movie comedies about schoolgirls and nuns The Trouble With Angels and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows.

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia 

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The Eastern State Penitentiary Castle is located at 2027 Fairmount Ave in Philadelphia. The Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1829 and housed prisoners until 1971. Willie Sutton and Al Capone are two of the most famous inmates that were housed in this castle like prison. Today the Eastern State Penitentiary is a museum open daily to the public for tours and has been used to film such TV shows as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and MTV's Fear as well as such movies as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This castle prison is reportedly haunted and full of paranormal activity.

Christ's Castle or Sibley Castle in Pennsylvania

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Sibley Castle or Christ's Castle is located right along the Allegheny River between the towns of Franklin and Oil City in Northwestern Pennsylvania. The castle was built by oil magnate and US Congressman Joseph C. Sibley in 1913 and was called River Ridge or the Joseph Sibley Mansion at that time. Today Sibley Castle or now Christ's Castle is in the hands of Life Ministries Inc. and is used for religious retreats and is open to the public for tours if you arrange them ahead of time. Call 814-437-6251 for more info.

Carlisle Castle Prison in Carlisle

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The Carlsile Castle Prison which is officially called the Old Cumberland County Jail is located on East High Street in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1854 to resemble a Norman castle in England and to be used as the county jail. It was used as a jail until 1984 when a new jail was built nearby and today the Carlisle Castle houses local county offices.

Lancaster County Prison in Lancaster 

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The Lancaster County Prison is located at 625 East King Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Built in 1849 as a near replica of Lancaster Castle in England the Lancaster County Prison Castle still houses nearly 1,000 inmates today and was used for public hangings until 1912.

Grey Towers Gifford Pinchot Castle or Home in Milford 

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The Grey Towers Gifford Pinchot Home or Castle is located at 151 Grey Towers Road just off Owego Turnpike off Route 6 in Milford just over the Delaware River from New Jersey in northeastern Pennsylvania. Grey Towers was built by Gifford Pinchot's father James in 1886 and was the Pinchot family home until 1963 when it was donated to the United States Forest Service. Gifford Pinchot was the first director of the US Forest Service and was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania. Grey Towers today is a National Historic Site operated by the US Forest Service and open to the public for tours.

Alleghany County Jail Castle in Pittsburgh 

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The Alleghany County Jail Castle is located at Ross Street and 5th Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania right next to the impressive Alleghany County Courthouse. The Alleghany County Jail Castle was completed in 1886 and added to from 1903 to 1905. The courthouse is still in use today but the castle jail no longer houses inmates and is a tourist attraction today.

Penn Dental School Castle in Philadelphia

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The Penn Dental School building is castle-like in appearance and is located in Philadelphia.

Fisher or Furness Fine Arts Library at Penn University

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The Fisher Fine Arts Library or Furness Library is located right along the college green at the University of Pennsylvania. The beautiful castle-like building dates back to 1891 and was long considered an embarresment at the college and was slated to be demolished until Frank Lloyd Wright saw it and said it was the work of an artist back in 1957.

Bradford Armory Castle in Bradford

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The Bradford Armory Castle is located at 38 Barbour Street in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The Bradford Armory dates back to 1912 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Sources: http://www.dupontcastle.com/castles/#pa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_castles_in_the_United_States

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Comments (15)
kate smedley

More stunning choices Joe, I can't believe the Lancaster prison, it's a beautiful building.

Simply beautiful! Hope his win the buzz!

Another fine collection revealing that America is not as architecturally-deprived as previously thought.

Well done on this article

Nice tour of castles in Pennsylvannia.

MMV Abad

Lovely images... a very good article. Thanks.

Diane

The man who build Glencairn is named Raymond Pitcairn, not Robert.

Another great piece, I love this series.

WOW! I had no idea - and I grew up in Ohio. I am chagrined at my ignorance of the beautiful castles in the US.

Katie

What about Linden Hall? Built by a member of my family: http://www.lindenhallpa.com/ In the heart of coal and steel country.

Katie, do you have any photos of Linden Hall? Cannot really see what it looks like from the website.

Katie

Joe - here is a link to history info on Linden Hall http://www.watsonschoice.com/GuideBook/DayTrips/Attractions/LindenHall.htm

Thanks for the link Katie!

Impressive, well written and illustrated write-up..thanks

Interesting write up.  I paid attention since I'm originally from PA.  I've seen a few of the castles in Philadelphia.  Some of my friends have done the Eastern State Penitentiary tours.

This is great information as I didn't know PA had so many castles!

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