Grey Towers National Historic Site

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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.

Grey Towers

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.

Grey Towers

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

Grey Towers Posts►

  • Grey Towers National Historic Site
  • Bait Box
  • Letter Box
  • Grounds

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

Grey Towers

17 thoughts on “Grey Towers National Historic Site

  1. 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!

    1. 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

      1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

      1. Dear Theresa,

        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 The tours are so interesting and informative.


        Justin Watrel, Blogger

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