Thursday, June 16, 2011
Hidden away in the suburbs far from the Liberty Bell and the tourists, sits a luxurious palace left as a shell of it's former self. The articulate limestone walls of the Lynnewood Hall lie at rest behind the overgrown yard, protected by a rusty fence.
This former elegant home was once deemed the "house that art built." Industrialist Peter Widener was an avid art collector and needed a larger home to house his valuable collection as well as entertain his esteemed colleagues. In 1900 he and his family moved into their 70,000 square foot dream home. The home was full of luxurious design. Marble lined the walls, while gold plated the doorknobs.
The Wiedener family was extremely wealthy, but also dealt with their share of hardships.
One of the family's sons and grandson perished in the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. Peter Widener himself only got to enjoy his dream home for a modest 15 years. He was found deceased in the home after a lengthy illness at the age of 80. Shortly after Peter's passing the home became open for public viewings. Visits eventually ceased in 1940, shortly after most of the artwork was donated.
The legacy of the Lynnewood Hall and Widener family slowly began to fade away. The home was used briefly by the U.S. government during World War 2. The grounds were used for canine training, while the home was used to store valuable documents and works of art.
Since then the home has switched hands a few times and is slowly falling into decay. No major work has been done on the home since the 1950's. Most of the valuable materials used for building have been stripped away and sold by previous owners. Many preservation groups are trying to help preserve the legacy of this lost palace, before it's history and beauty are lost forever.
Lynnewood Hall Video