As promised in the last blog we were going to do some local sight seeing, so today we went to a local tile maker's house, Henry Chapman Mercer. His Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, completed in 1912, produced tiles and mosaics for floors, walls and ceilings. Mercer's artistry and abilities produced floor tiles for the rotunda and halls of the Pennsylvania State Capitol, depicting 400 scenes in the Commonwealth's history. His tiles adorn buildings throughout the United States and the world.
However, the most bizarre was the home he built, Fonthill. We toured Fonthill and it is the strangest building I have ever been in. Fonthill, built between 1908 and 1910, is a testament to Henry Mercer's vivid imagination. He designed it, "room by room, from the interior, the exterior not being considered until all the rooms had been imagined and sketched," Mercer wrote. The result was spectacular.
Built entirely of hand mixed concrete, Fonthill has 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces, 32 stairwells and more than 200 windows of varying size and shape. The National Historic Landmark contains more than 900 prints and other objects that Mercer gathered throughout the world, creating an intensely personal statement of his genius. The lavishly embellished interior surfaces show an incredible array of Mercer's original decorative tiles.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the campground we are staying in is right next to a covered bridge with an old grist mill next to it. Here are a couple of photos of the bridge followed by a photo of the mill.
This bridge was built in 1873 and is 130 feet long.
Sheard's Mill operated until 1972.
Well, we said we would take a riding lesson at Merry Lee's and we did. She has been another gracious and helpful host along our summer of 2007 adventure. Thanks, Merry Lee for you advice on places to see and the best way to get there (train rather than car) and sharing your time with us. There is nothing like visiting with old friends.
Kathy took a lesson on Surprise. No surprises!
So that's it from Quakertown and vicinity. It's on to DC tomorrow.
Happy Trails! The end!!