NEWS - In a surprise twist, the largest abandoned mansion in the United States may be making a comeback as a tourist destination.
Newsbreak reports that the Lynnewood Hall Preservation Foundation has formed and has announced a purchase deal for the property on February 8, 2023. The intent is to completely restore the estate and open it to the public including building an accompanying park.
The famous 110-room mansion in Pennsylvania, Lynnewood Hall, remained shrouded in mystery for decades. Renowned architect Henry Trumbauer designed the mansion in the neoclassical revival style, and it was built in the early 1900s for U.S. tycoon Peter Arrell Browne Widener. Due to its connection to the ill-fated ship, the mansion was nicknamed the "Titanic mansion."
Now, experts are weighing in on the possibility of turning this abandoned relic into a must-see attraction for visitors from around the world. Could Lynnewood Hall become the next big thing in tourism? Read on to find out.
History And Mystery Of Lynnewood Hall
Lynnewood Hall is not just a stunning architectural masterpiece, but it is also shrouded in history and mystery. The mansion has a rich past, having been the home of some of the most prominent figures in American history.
Its construction began in 1897 and was completed in the early 1900s for U.S. tycoon Peter Arrell Browne Widener. The mansion was designed by renowned architect Henry Trumbauer in the neoclassical revival style, and it features 110 rooms spread across four floors. Lynnewood Hall is one of the last surviving Gilded Age mansions in the Philadelphia area, and it has been the subject of numerous rumors and legends over the years.
One of the most intriguing is its connection to the ill-fated RMS Titanic. Despite the various rumors, the true story behind this connection remains a mystery.
The Lavish Lifestyle Inside The Lynnewood Hall
Widener, who was a major investor in the ill-fated Titanic, was also known as a connoisseur of the fine arts. While Lynnewood Hall sits lonely and abandoned today, the previous owner's preference for expensive things can still be reflected in the halls of the abandoned mansion.
Widener was known for his taste in the finer things, collecting expensive and intricate art that he used to display in the grand halls of the mansion.
Just looking at the interior is enough for people to realize that the mansion belongs to someone who had a preference for elegance and all things grand.
Widener was known to display the works of famous artists such as Raphael, Donatello, and Rembrandt. His son, George D. Widener who died in the sinking of Titanic, was also the chairman of the Philadephia Museum of Art.
The tycoon was not particular with just art, but he was very interested in antique furniture.
The Philadephia Inquirer once described the mansion in a statement saying that inside the home, it was "dripping in silk, velvet, and gilded moldings. The rooms were furnished with chairs from Louis XV's palace, Persian rugs, and Chinese pottery..."
A Special Peek Inside The Mansion
The mansion was already revered for its grandeur during its heyday, but now it is popular for something else entirely.
While the current estate is said to be watched by a caretaker and guarded by dogs, some video content creators were able to enter the place and film the deteriorating interior of the mansion. This was before the security was heightened and the repercussions for trespassing were enforced.
In a viral video that raked up over 19.5 million views on the popular video-sharing site Tiktok, the building seems truly abandoned, and lost in time.
@forbiddenadventures Abandon titanic mansion #titanic #abandoned #mansion ￼#history ♬ My Heart Will Go On (Titanic) - Maliheh Saeedi & Faraz Taali
In the video filmed by TikTok user @forbiddenadventures, some pieces of furniture can still be seen sitting unused and covered in dust. The high ceilings and wide, empty spaces give off a certain allure to the audience who certainly appreciates the special beauty of the abandoned Lynnewood Hall.
Standing The Test Of Time
Contrary to some popular hearsay that circulate about the mansion, the estate was not abandoned after the owners died in the sinking of the Titanic.
Peter Widener's son George and grandson Harry were the ones who died in the sinking of the Titanic, while his daughter-in-law survived the sinking in lifeboat No.4. They say Peter Widener declined a ride on the Titanic due to his old age; he was in his late 70s at the time the vessel had set sail to New York.
During the early 1940s, the grounds of Lynnewood Hall were utilized as training grounds for military dogs, following the Widener's occupancy.
In the latter parts of the 1940s, a theological seminary purchased the mansion and restored some of the interior features of the home, including a chapel that still has pews lining up inside the massive room.
The owners did not maintain the original 480 acres, resulting in them selling some of the lands on the outer parts of the property to other private owners. Currently, only the mansion and the parcel of land staying inside a steel fence is still part of the original Lynnewood Hall.
@angbonatv Abandoned Titanic Owners Mansion Part 1 #abandonedmansion #titanic #fyp ♬ Mysterious Music - Beautiful Magical Music Collection
This TikTok video shared by @angbonatv shows another walkthrough of the "abandoned Titanic owner's mansion." It certainly gathers a lot of attention on the platform. The history is enthralling to commenters.
The Lynnewood Hall's Heart Will Go On
After Peter Widener's death at the age of 80 inside Lynnewood Hall, the mansion passed from one owner to another. Nowadays, the property has heightened security and does not allow any more visitors to trespass to see the inside of the mansion.
At its prime, Lynnewood Hall required 37 permanent employees to maintain the interior, and an additional 60 people to take care of the vast acres of land surrounding the mansion.
The property exuded luxury and boasted a magnificent collection of treasures and art. However, it can no longer be claimed to hold the same status, for obvious reasons. However, the mansion still stands grand, albeit its walls eroding and its structure abandoned.
The future still looks promising for the magnificent mansion. After a lot of complications with its ownership and upkeep, the mansion's historical past rendered it eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2022, the Lynnewood Hall Preservation Foundation announced its plans of collecting funds in order to restore the mansion to its former glory.
The foundation announced a purchase agreement on February 8 of this year, which will enable the restoration and public accessibility of Lynnewood Hall. Hopefully, this will revitalize the historical beauty that stood lonely and silent in Pennsylvania for so long.
Lynnewood Hall, with its fascinating history, unique architecture, and rich cultural significance, has captured the imagination of many people.
As more people discover the beauty and mystery of Lynnewood Hall, there is a growing hope that it may become the next must-see tourist destination. Whether it is through restoration, redevelopment, or repurposing, there is a sense that this magnificent estate can once again become a centerpiece of the community.
As experts continue to weigh in on the best way forward, one thing is clear - the legacy of Lynnewood Hall is too important to be forgotten. This iconic mansion has stood the test of time, and its story is far from over. As we look to the future, we can only hope that it will continue to capture the hearts and imaginations of people around the world, and that one day soon, we will all have the opportunity to explore its many wonders firsthand.