Tag Archives: George Widener

Slideshow of Former Widener Home Lynnewood Hall

Lynnewood Hall, 2013
Photo: Shuvaev/Wikimedia Commons

Few estates showcase the wealth of the Gilded Age than Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Built by Peter A.B. Widener between 1897-1900, it was a masterpiece of design. The 110-room mansion sat on 300 acres that were meticulously cared for and adorned with statues. The mansion was 70,000 square feet and designed by the noted American architect Horace Trumbauer. Aside from being a place to live, it was also to be the home of one of the largest private art collections in the country. It is estimated to have cost $8 million to build. Sadly, both his son George Dunton Widener and grandson Harry, died when Titanic sank in 1912. George had two other children who were not aboard at the time. His wife Eleanor and maid did survive but it was a devastating blow to AB. He would die in 1915.

Between 1915-1940, it was a private art gallery open to the public by appointment. In 1940, over 2,000 pieces of art were donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.  When Joseph Widener passed away in 1943, none of his children wanted the responsibility (meaning cost because it took a lot of money to keep the house and grounds maintained). It was abandoned and left to slowly disintegrate until 1948 when a developer bought it for a very low price. After that it was purchased by the Faith Theological Seminary. They sold off most of the land and now sits on 33 acres. Most of the art that was left was sold off prior to the sale. The seminary sold off many the famed interior detailing to raise funds. You must go to the National Gallery in Washington to see the Widener art collection, which is still preserved.

The house has been left to rot having been stripped of its precious art and detailing. Some rooms and areas are still in good condition as the slideshow indicates. It has been added to the list of endangered historic properties in the region. The secret tunnels referred to in the title were possibly used by staff to navigate the large house without being seen by Widener’s guests. The home was up for sale in 2014 for $20 million but that was brought down to $17.5 million in 2017. It appears off the market but not really known if it was sold or not. Perhaps it ought to be renovated and made open to the public (for a fee, of course) like many mansions and estates in Britain and France. You can view the slideshow here.


Titanic News:Man Creates Handmade Titanic;Mansion Has Connection To Titanic

City Man Recreates Famed Titanic In Painstaking Detail (Sarnia Journal, 23 Dec 2020)

A handmade replica of the RMS Titanic is ready to set sail for a new home. Sarnia’s Dave Finley spent 1,095 days and 3,000 hours creating the eight-foot-long passenger liner from parts he minutely crafted himself. “It’s completely scratch built,” said Finley, 61. “It’s pretty decked out. There’s a lot of detail.” From the handrails to the 48 boilers within its hull, the Titanic has been painstakingly remade from wood and metal and wrapped in plastic sheets painted to match the ship that sank in 1912. Finley used 10,000 brass nails and dressmaker pins for rivets, and tiny chunks of charcoal to fill the coalbunkers within. The engine room made of brass and copper took two months to complete. “I can’t put no more on; there’s just nothing left to put on,” he said.

The Abandoned Mansion With A Shocking Titanic Secret (Slideshow) MSN Money, 21 Dec 2020

Widener had been an investor in iconic passenger liner, RMS Titanic. In 1912, George, his wife Eleanor, and their son Harry, planned to travel home on the ship’s maiden voyage, following a family holiday in Europe. George is said to have hosted a luxurious dinner party aboard the ship, celebrating its splendor (and his father’s investment). The lavish event was attended by Titanic’s now-famous captain, E J Smith, who departed early due to iceberg warnings.