Grey Towers National Historic Site

Grey Towers National Historic Site, also known as Gifford Pinchot House or The Pinchot Institute, is located just off US 6 west of Milford, Pennsylvania, in Dingman Township. It is the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, first director of the United States Forest Service (USFS) and twice elected governor of Pennsylvania.

The house, built in the style of a French château to reflect the Pinchot family’s French origins, was designed by Richard Morris Hunt with some later work by H. Edwards Ficken. Situated on the hills above Milford, it overlooks the Delaware River. Pinchot grew up there and returned during the summers when his later life took him to Washington and Harrisburg. His wife, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, made substantial changes to the interior of the home and gardens, in collaboration with several different architects, during that time.

In 1963 his family donated it and the surrounding 102 acres to the Forest Service; it is the only U.S. National Historic Site managed by that agency. Three years later the Department of the Interior designated it a National Historic Landmark. Today it is open to the public for tours and hiking on its trails; it is also home to the Pinchot Institute, which carries on his work in conservation.

Building and grounds

The mansion itself is a three-story L-shaped fieldstone chateau. Conical roofed towers at three of the corners give the property its name. A service wing juts out from the fourth corner. As originally built, it contained 43 rooms, with the first floor featuring a large entrance hall, billiard room, dining room, library and sitting room. Bedrooms were located on the second floor, with more on the third floor plus storage spaces and children’s playrooms.

The house boasts a number of outbuildings. On the 303 acres of the combined parcels that made up the original estate, there are 48 total buildings, structures and sites, all but eight of which are considered contributing to its historic value. These include nearby cottages known as the Letter and Bait Boxes, a unique outdoor dining facility called the Finger Bowl, a Forester’s Cottage used as a residence by the Pinchot descendants, an open-air theater, the former Yale School of Forestry’s summer school, and a white pine plantation established by Gifford Pinchot.

The Finger Bowl

In the early 1930s, Cornelia Pinchot hired William Lawrence Bottomley to create a unique addition known as the Finger Bowl, an outdoor dining area consisting of a raised pool surrounded by a flat ledge. Chairs were pulled up to the ledge and food was served from bowls floating on the water. It was sheltered by a wisteria-covered arbor supported by 12 stone piers. In the late 1930s, Gifford Pinchot started the White Pine Plantation to reforest some old farmland near the mansion. He was particularly interested in that species since it was the dominant tree in the forests of Pike County and had been heavily harvested during the previous century.

Forest Service

After his mother died in 1960, Gifford Bryce Pinchot donated the building to the Forest Service, as the family had planned. The agency intended to use the house as a conference center, and had to replace some interior walls that had suffered insect and water damage. Various other rooms in the wing and second floor were converted to storage or office use, and the swimming pool was filled in, in 1979, when it became a safety and maintenance problem. A parking lot was built to the northwest.

The Pinchot Institute, which also has a role in administering the site, was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy on September 24, 1963. That same year Grey Towers was one of the first sites declared a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior.

In 1980, the USFS realized how much its renovations had damaged an architecturally significant structure and began trying to undo some of the changes it had made. It developed a plan to restore the house and estate to a condition similar to the way it had been in Pinchot’s era, in consultation with the Park Service’s Harper’s Ferry Center, and hired staff with expertise in landscape and architecture. After a brief closing for this renovation, it reopened on August 11, 2001, Gifford Pinchot’s birthday. The state of Pennsylvania’s Department of Natural Resources also made a $2 million grant available for renovations to the entrance, entry road and parking facilities. In 2007 the USFS restored the swimming pool.

128 thoughts on “Grey Towers National Historic Site

  1. cnn (?) stoking the Don vs ron bullshit…
    entire article
    Republican strategist Scott Jennings called on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to declare his candidacy for the 2024 GOP nomination to derail former President Donald Trump.

    Trump declared his candidacy in November and remains the only high-profile Republican to do so.

    The governor’s refusal to rule out a run has irked Trump, who has claimed DeSantis would never have been elected governor were it not for his endorsement in 2018. DeSantis coasted to reelection in November.

    On Monday’s edition of The Lead on CNN, guest host Alex Marquardt quoted from a piece in The Atlantic about Republicans engaged in the “magical thinking” that Trump will naturally fade away.

    “Faced with the prospect of another election cycle dominated by Trump and uncertain that he can actually be beaten in the primaries, many Republicans are quietly rooting for something to happen that will make him go away,” the article reads. “And they would strongly prefer not to make it happen themselves.”

    “Scott, is hope a strategy?” Marquardt asked Jennings.

    “Uh, no,” he replied. “There’s only one strategy for getting rid of Trump: it’s to beat his ass. I mean, I don’t know what else to say. Ron DeSantis is gonna have to get in this race and beat him. That’s the only way to make this go away.”

    Jennings suggested that Trump and DeSantis appear to be the only two real contenders while other potential candidates are “fighting for one percent of the rest of the oxygen.”

    “If Desantis wants to make a go of this, the reservoir of support exists to do it,” he continued. “The generational message exists to do it, but he’s gotta do it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ultra maggot let the cat out of the bag again…LAST MARCH according to tucker
    “Last spring, in March, at a press conference in Brussels, Joe Biden explained that the sanctions he was imposing against Russia, while morally necessary, were also going to cause food shortages around the world, including here in the United States. ‘It’s going to be real,’ he said.”

    “Now, Biden said this in a very odd way. There was no hint or panic, emotions you’d expect from a leader predicting the deaths of human beings from starvation. None of that. Instead, there was pure, nonchalant casualness. Biden could have been describing the weather or a trip to the dry cleaners. “It’s going to be real,” Tucker added.

    “Then Biden continued, recounting a conversation he had with European allies. He told us all about it. When he met with the group, Biden said, they spoke about ‘how we could increase and disseminate more rapidly food shortages.’ That’s what Joe Biden said verbatim. It’s on tape…,” Tucker continued.

    “We can’t know what Joe Biden was thinking, if anything, when he uttered those words in Brussels. We can only tell you what happened afterward.”

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  3. I am adding a short daily prayer to the board. I would invite each of you, if you wish, to also add one or maybe two of your own liking. I do not want to stifle anyone but please limit yourself to one or two religious postings. here’s one I found that I liked.


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