Local Icon Henry Mercer Pays Homage to an Era of Handcrafting at the Mercer Museum
June 16, 2015 | klein
Henry Mercer is something of a legend in Bucks County. An eccentric (and wealthy) historian and archaeologist, Mercer made waves when he built his homestead in Doylestown—which he fittingly dubbed Fonthill Castle. The castle still stands today and houses most of Mercer's personal collection of beautiful Moravian tiles, which where manufactured in his factory next door. However, Mercer Museum plays host to many more historically significant artifacts, also thanks to Henry Mercer.
At the turn of the 20th century as the first rumblings of the Industrial Revolution began, Mercer took steps to preserve the era of hand-making goods. To that end, he opened Mercer Museum in a six-story concrete "castle," similar to the striking structure in which he lived. He collected a huge array of handcrafted items to put inside, from a massive whale boat (which hangs from the ceiling) to a stage coach and a Conestoga wagon. Explore its many small nooks and rooms to see the various "exhibits" as Henry Mercer categorized them, from tin-smithing to the "healing arts."