The Mercer Mile
The well-traveled town of Doylestown is home to the impressive belt of historical attractions comprised of Fonthill Museum, Mercer Museum and the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works; also known as The Mercer Mile. These three concrete structures celebrate the life, work and collections of Henry Chapman Mercer.
Mercer was born in 1856 and died in 1930. Fonthill was his former home, built between 1908 and 1912. The 44-room concrete castle is decorated with Mercer's personal collection of ornate handmade tiles. Bookworms love the built-in bookcases throughout the castle, housing more than 6,000 books. The National Historic Landmark has 32 stairwells, 18 fireplaces and 21 chimneys.
In fact, six floors of history await to be explored and discovered at the Mercer Museum, featuring 50,000 artifacts representing 60 early American trades. Each level of the museum represents a different classification and the central atrium holds unique, large objects including a whale boat, stage coach and Conestoga wagon.
A tilemaker at heart, Mercer also built the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, a factory built with the idea of early Spanish mission and monastery architecture in mind.
The National Historical Landmark and “working history” museum produces handmade tiles and mosaics in the same style of Mercer’s original designs. Guests can even watch artisans throughout the entire tile-making process.
The Aldie Mansion was originally built in 1927 as the residence of William Mercer, Henry’s younger brother, and his wife, Martha. The home is an English Tudor manor, adorned with intricate brickwork, leaded glass, gargoyles and other sculptures that William, who was a sculptor himself, created!
The Mercers would host lavish dinner parties there, with guests like Groucho Marx, Isadora Duncan and the Von Trapp family. When the family passed away, the mansion fell into despair, until the 1980s when the Heritage Conservancy took over. Today, you can schedule a guided tour of the mansion, or, rent it out for your wedding.
Visitors can also stroll down State Street to enjoy Doylestown’s first-class dining options, charming shops and friendly atmosphere. The nearby James A. Michener Art Museum is filled with American art focused on the Bucks County region or folks can take in a film at the 75-year-old historic County Theater before journeying through the enchanting Mercer Mile.