Once Abandoned Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park Philadelphia

Lynnewood Hall is the Greatest Surviving Gilded Age mansions Falls Into Disrepair after 25 Years in Elkins Park philadelphia

This magnificent example of the Neo-Classical Revival style is regarded as one of the finest Gilded Age houses still standing. The majestic house fell into disrepair due to a complicated and tragic history, but it still has plenty of secrets. The stately property was once one of Pennsylvania’s finest pieces of real estate. Discover the mysteries of this interesting abandoned mansion by clicking or scrolling on to learn more about its elaborate interiors, secret tunnels, and sad Titanic link.

At House Beautiful, we’ve long been fascinated by abandoned homes, and we think we’ve discovered the most opulent one yet: a mansion in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, with ties to the Titanic and an estimated value of $256 million.

Although they start to seem overused, the only ways to describe Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park and its founder are with superlatives. It is currently the largest remaining Gilded Age palace in the Philadelphia region, with 110 rooms. The longest enfilade in a residential building in the US is a 268-foot long group of rooms arranged so that a clear view can be seen from one end of the east wing to the other end of the west wing. For Peter A. B. Widener, who owned more Rembrandts than any other private collector save Buckingham Palace, the estate was constructed between 1897 and 1899.

Establishing Lynnewood Hall

This turn-of-the-century home in Philadelphia, known as Lynnewood Hall, was constructed between 1897 and 1900 for US industrialist, prolific art collector, and Titanic investor Peter Arrell Browne Widener. The house was originally constructed in Elkins Park, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on a remarkable 480-acre estate.

Why is it called Lynnewood Hall?

As a result, he hired Horace Trumbauer to create a new, larger mansion as well as a number of dependencies in 1898. He created the mansion, which he called Lynnewood Hall, as a lavish exhibition space for his artwork and a residence for his family. The Widener estate was essentially self-sufficient.

After Widener ownership, Lynnewood Hall

Widener had amassed wealth across a number of sectors. The American Tobacco Company and U.S. Steel were both co-founded by him after starting out in streetcar transportation. The manor served two objectives for him. He wanted to keep his sons and their families close by and to remain in one house after his wife passed away. He also need a lot of room to display his enormous collection of artwork.

Widener had numerous rare pieces of art, including the aforementioned Rembrandts (14 in all), The Feast of the Gods by Giovannia Bellini, the Small Cowper Madonna by Raphael, and numerous works by Anthony Van Dyck, Titian, El Greco, Thomas Gainsborough, Edouard Manet, among others. There were five galleries in the house, including one for each of his Van Dycks, Rembrandts, Bellinis, and Italian Renaissance pieces, as well as a general gallery close to the main entrance hall.

Interior and exterior of Lynnewood Hall before preservation

Multimillion-dollar estate

This image, taken from the back, reveals Lynnewood Hall’s immense size. It contains 110 rooms, of which 55 are bedrooms and 20 are bathrooms, an art gallery, and a ballroom big enough to hold 1,000 guests. It is said to have cost $8 million (£7.1m) to create.

Wonderful Interior

The dining room, which was once paneled in beautiful French walnut and then embellished with green and white marble, is one of the other prominent rooms. It was created by Baumgarten. Two Gobelin tapestries and a bust of Prince Louis II de Bourbon from the 17th century, known as The Grand Condé, were displayed in the room.

The Lynnewood Family Legacy

From 1900 until 2000, Widener and his family resided at Lynnewood Hall. Widener, who suffered from frequent health problems that many attributed to sadness, passed suddenly at the home in November 1915 at the age of 80. The land should have passed to his eldest son, George Dunton Widener Sr., but tragedy had befallen the unhappy family just three years earlier.

Story following 1996

However, a Korean church has held this Gilded Age home since 1996, according to Kent. They had to quietly leave Lynnewood Hall several years ago because they “could not afford to maintain the property.” The leader of the Korean church, Dr. Richard Yoon, “fought against the local township regarding the property’s tax-exempt status,” according to Kent, as the taxes alone are “far over $100,000 each year.”

The church ultimately decided to list the mansion for sale due to the high expense of restoration. Even when offers were received that were significantly higher than the asking price, the church refused to sell the land. Lynnewood Hall is currently privately owned, unoccupied, and off the market.
Although it’s uncertain what will happen to Lynnewood Hall, we sincerely hope that it will someday be brought back to its former splendor.

Tieas to the Titaanic

Widener had invested in the renowned passenger ship RMS Titanic. Following a family vacation in Europe in 1912, George, his wife Eleanor, and their son Harry intended to sail home on the ship’s inaugural voyage. According to reports, George threw a lavish dinner party on board the ship to honor its beauty (and his father’s investment).

The now-famous captain of the Titanic, E.J. Smith, who died mysteriously and was the subject of much controversy, attended the extravagant celebration.

Sadly, when the Titanic sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean, both George (left) and Harry (right) perished. A vintage passenger ship and an iceberg collided, with disastrous results. One of the most tragic maritime tragedies in history, the Titanic carried 2,224 individuals, more than half of whom perished. Eleanor was fortunate enough to make it to one of the Titanic’s very small lifeboats and survive.

Efforts by a Preservation Organization to Save Lynnewood Hall

The Lynnewood Hall Preservation Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that Lynnewood Hall resumes its role as a vital member of the neighborhood and wider society. The Greater Philadelphia Communities will have access to educational, recreational, and employment possibilities as the Foundation develops a significant cultural site using only the best standards of conservation craftsmanship, sustainability principles, and research.

In addition to serving as a site for the exhibition of works of outstanding art, Lynnewood Hall also serves as a teaching tool for historical, architectural, landscape, and preservation education. By incorporating sustainability best practices, reducing environmental impact by restoring the building and landscape, and repurposing the estate as a community amenity as a pastoral green space that is not only beautiful but environmentally responsible, the Foundation hopes to inspire positive urban growth through the estate.

The Foundation will work to ensure that the buildings and grounds are accessible to the public and available for use as a cultural institution for leisure and educational activities.

Lynanewood Hall Interior and exterior after the preservation

Baumgarten-designed dining room

The dining room, which was once paneled in beautiful French walnut and then embellished with green and white marble, is one of the other prominent rooms. It was created by Baumgarten. Two Gobelin tapestries, as well as the Grand Conde bust of Prince Louis II de Bourbon, who reigned from 1621 to 1686, were displayed in the room. The marble paneling was taken out and sold off by McIntire when it was a seminary.

Today’s ballroom

But given the mansion’s years of neglect, the opulent ballroom, as seen in 2021, is in remarkably good condition. Although restoration work will undoubtedly be needed, the famed golden ceiling has amazingly survived, and the room still has enough of wow-factor!

Property history

In addition to working on a National Register of Historic Places nomination to help safeguard the property, the group is looking for “preservation-minded investors” to help finance their restoration efforts. There is little doubt that the group will require a good deal of assistance. To restore the home to its former splendor, a historical restoration architect estimated that it would cost about $50 million (£44.4m). But history cannot be valued in any way, can it?

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