The art, architecture and personal collecting interests of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930) are represented in the holdings of Fonthill Castle. These include several thousand European and American prints, and decorative ceramic tiles from Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East – as well as tile produced at Mercer’s own Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. Many of these tiles are inset into Fonthill’s walls and ceilings. The collections also encompass other works of art and handcraft, many acquired by Mercer in his travels, as well as household furnishings, decorative items and personal effects.
Both Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle have permanent exhibits that bring history to life.
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Henry Mercer was 51 when he began building the first of his three concrete structures, his home Fonthill, 1908-1910.
“Lucy” the horse was part of the work crew that built both Fonthill and the Mercer Museum. She hoisted the loads of mixed concrete up to workers.
There are 44 rooms in Fonthill including 10 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms and 18 fireplaces. Completed in 1910 Fonthill boasted modern conveniences- 2 dumbwaiters, an Otis elevator, an intercom buzzer system and phones to communicate within the house.
In addition to installing his own Arts and Crafts tiles in Fonthill, Henry Mercer incorporated Persian, Chinese, Spanish and Dutch tiles.
The Research Library of the Mercer Museum houses over 20,000 books, 2500 feet of county archives, over 12,000 images and more!
More than 60 Early American trades are represented in the Mercer Museum.
Fonthill has over 200 windows all of varying sizes!
Among the oldest artifacts in the Mercer Museum are a 2,000 year old whale oil lamp and Native American implements dating to 6,000-8,000 BC.
The Mercer Museum and Fonthill annually welcome visitors from all 50 states.
All the concrete used to construct Fonthill (1908-1910) was mixed by hand!