Doylestown, Pennsylvania: Mercer Museum: Concrete Castle
- 84 S. Pine St., Doylestown, PA
- Take US 202 into downtown Doylestown, then turn east onto S. Main St. Drive one block, then bear left onto Green St. The Mercer Museum will be one block east, on the left.
- M, W-Sa 10 am - 5 pm; Tu 10 am - 9 pm; Su 12-5 pm. (Call to verify)
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
Mercer Museum: Concrete Castle
Not only a historic gallows, but hundreds of bizarre artifacts -- such as a vampire-killing kit -- exhibited in a castle made of concrete. Roadsideamerica.com Report... [03/07/2010]
Visitor Tips and News About Mercer Museum: Concrete Castle
Like many things in this unique museum, the coolest thing about the gallows on display is the perspective you're given. You don't look at it from a distance, you walk right underneath it.[JayBeeYell, 05/04/2015]
Mercer was an eccentric collector of all sorts of early Americana artifacts - generally stuff that common people used. The museum was built solely to house his collection (never as a home), which includes everything from canoes and carriages to tools, pottery, and even a Vampire Killing Kit (always my favorite exhibit). The museum, like the other buildings, is concrete to protect his collection from fire, and many of the large items hang from the ceiling. There are also some activities for kids.
The Moravian Tile Works is an active workshop -- tour the facility and head to the gift shop for some unique and beautiful gifts. Fonthill, Mercer's home, is great for an interesting tour, including a bedroom where the story of Bluebeard is told in picture-tiles on the wall. The grounds of Fonthill and the Tileworks are beautiful, with a small patch of woods for walking and plenty of open space for a picnic or frisbee game. Tours cost money, but access to the grounds is free. You'll have to head across town to the museum, which is also a great picnic spot and has a popular hill for sledding if you visit in winter. If you happen to be there the second weekend in May, you'll find a big ol' fashioned Folk Fest focused on skill-based crafts like wood-turning, glass-blowing, textiles, sheep-shearing, an interactive Revolutionary War camp exhibit, and a stage with juggling and other entertainment. The museum is also just across the street from the public library and the Art Museum (which is in an old jail).[Aja Bryant, 12/08/2004]
The Museum does have the gallows, and the prisoners dock, and a nifty old horse drawn hearse, but it's not Mr. Mercer's house. His house, Fonthill, is nearby, and you can also tour it. It's like a castle, and it's poured concrete, which he built himself with the assistance of a workman, a mule and his chesapeake retriever "Rollo" -- you can see Rollo's footprints in "rollo's stairs." EVERYTHING is concrete in this house. Even some of the built-in furniture, so it's not the warmest place... The guy was rich eccentric around the turn of the century.[Steve Lehman, 07/18/1998]
The Mercer Museum in Bucks County has in its collection the gallows upon which Bucks Country miscreants stretched rope until about 1900.
Right down the road is the Moravian Tile Works. I might have the name wrong, but this erstwhile manufactory of ceramic tiles was the first poured-concrete structure in the USA (the Mercer Museum, originally Mr. Mercer's home, was the second).
The Tile Works is a sight to behold. Bunch 'o chimneys, all tastefully decorated with colorful tiles. The poured concrete (earth was used as molds) makes the place look a gingerbread house.[Terry Shannon, 06/25/1998]