Henry Mercer loved dogs, and his favorite breed was the Chesapeake Bay retriever. He had many of these dogs, some of which were named Jack, Sailor and Larry. Mercer’s favorite at the time of the construction of the Mercer Museum was Rollo. Mercer allowed Rollo to run through wet concrete in the newly constructed parts of the Museum. His enormous paws left equally large prints, which are still evident to Museum visitors on “Rollo’s Stairs” between the fifth and sixth floors today. Fonthill Castle also features “Rollo’s Stairs” – discover paw prints in the concrete stair treads in the Columbus Room.
Fonthill has over 200 windows all of varying sizes!
The Research Library of the Mercer Museum houses over 20,000 books, 2500 feet of county archives, over 12,000 images and more!
Henry Mercer was 51 when he began building the first of his three concrete structures, his home Fonthill, 1908-1910.
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.
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.
All the concrete used to construct Fonthill (1908-1910) was mixed by hand!
“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.
More than 60 Early American trades are represented in the Mercer Museum.
The Mercer Museum and Fonthill annually welcome visitors from all 50 states.
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