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Grey Towers NHS►
Grey Towers National Historic Site is in Milford, Pennsylvania. Gifford Pinchot, first director of the United States Forest Service and governor of Pennsylvania, grew up here. Pinchot’s father James bought the land in 1875 and moved the family there from New York City.
James Pinchot regretted the impact his wallpaper business had on the forests. He suggested to his Yale-bound son Gifford that he become a forester. Gifford did study forestry and made a lifelong career of conservation. He and his friend Theodore Roosevelt convinced Congress to establish the United States Forest Service in 1905.
Pinchot served as the USFS Director until 1910 until he had a falling out with Taft, Roosevelt’s successor. He married Cornelia Bryce in 1914 and they moved in to the Milford estate. He served two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania in the 1920s. His son Gifford Bryce Pinchot donated the Grey Towers estate to the US Forestry Service in 1960 to be used as a center for conservation. President Kennedy established the Pinchot Institute for Conservation at the site in 1963.
Gifford Pinchot House►
James Pinchot modeled Grey Towers after the Marquis de Lafayette’s LaGrange. The French Chateau style was a nod to the Pinchot family’s French roots. Pinchot sourced the materials locally.
Gifford Pinchot and his brother Amos split the estate after their parents’ deaths. Amos lived in the forester’s cottage. Gifford and Cordelia took over the mansion and renovated it to further their political ambitions. They enlarged the first floor rooms in order to entertain guests.
Gifford and Cordelia added several outbuildings and some formal landscaping. Gifford began reforesting some of the farmland with White Pines. White Pines were native to the area and had been nearly wiped out by clearcutting in the previous century.
Grey Towers Posts►
- Grey Towers National Historic Site
- Bait Box
- Letter Box
Location: 151 Grey Towers Dr Drive, Milford, PA 18337
Designation: National Historic Site
Date Designated/Established: May 23, 1963
Date of my visit: December 11, 2020
17 thoughts on “Grey Towers National Historic Site”
I recall reading about this estate in Timothy Egan’s book, The Big Burn. I’m glad it’s accessible to the public.
Since it’s owned by the Forestry Service, it’s also used as a meeting space for environmental groups. (when there’s not a pandemic)
What a beautiful estate. I appreciate learning of this background, having grown up not too far from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state.
How awesome that he has a namesake forest 3000 miles away from the place he called home!
what a beauty , a tour of history
I’ve been here but only to the grounds, we didn’t get to go on a tour so I didn’t know most of the history of Pinchot. Thanks for sharing!
I couldn’t go in either because of covid. There were some signs on the grounds, as well as a pamphlet for information. I look forward to things reopening so I can go back to see the inside of the mansion
Hmm okay well I guess I either missed the signs or I’ve forgotten everything I learned 😂 Hopefully you’re able to tour the interior soon!
I take pictures of the signs so I remember, lol
What a stunning property. I love the brick, the rounded appearance, and the tiled roof. And its history of course.
I’d like to go back in late spring or fall to see it in full color. And hopefully to take the tour when covid is over.
The legacy of Gifford Pinchot and Teddy Roosevelt stands strong – especially in the National Forest land in the West, but they had courage in taking on the big lumber corporations and made great reforms. This is a fitting tribute to that family.
Definitely, considering they could have chosen a much easier path, maintained the status quo and enjoyed the family money,
If you like the beauty of a park, you have to check out the Brooklyn Botanical Garden while Daffodil Hill is in bloom for the next week. Then it is gone until next year.
Also check out the walking tours being offered at Staatsburg, the Mills Mansion in Staatsburg, NY up by Rhinebeck. I think you would really enjoy them. They have a Village tour and a Garden Tour that might make an interesting blog for you. Check out my blog on the Mills Mansion on VisitingaMuseum.com. The tours are so interesting and informative.
Justin Watrel, Blogger