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Old May 31, 2010, 8:31 PM   #1
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Default Grey Towers in Milford, PA

We took pictures of Grey Towers in Milford, Pennsylvania. Completed in 1886, Grey Towers was the summer estate of Gifford Pinchot, twice governor of Pennsylvania. At a time when pristine lands were abundant in America, he came up with what perhaps seemed an absurd idea -- conserving nature. He founded the USDA Forest Service. And because of him the US now has all the national parks she has today.

Gifford Pinchot was a wealthy man. He inherited his wealth from his father, James Pinchot, who was immensely successful in the wallpaper business. Grey Towers shows off that wealth. The 43-room, three-floor mansion is situated on a high elevation on the northern tip of the Poconos with majestic views all around. The rooms’ walls are either paneled or ornately decorated. Just about every window presents a dramatic view of the 300 acre garden surrounding it.

There were about 30 visitors when we went there. According to the tour guide at the nearby Columns Museum that we visited earlier, Grey Towers ranks among the world’s top historical attractions and is not to be missed. We couldn’t disagree. And all that for only a $6 admission.

While walking around from room to room, a fellow visitor occasionally talked either to herself or to me -- I couldn’t tell which -- about things she noticed. The house didn’t originally have closets, she mused, so this closet must have been added later. These picture books on pedestals explain features of the room, she told me -- or to herself. The Roosevelt Mansion in Poughkeepsie in comparison was a house you can actually live in, she told me. (This time I was sure she was talking to me because she asked me if I was the one from Middletown. Before the tour started, we were asked by the tour guide where we were from.) The Grey Towers with its opulence, she said, showed "conspicuous consumption" that was prevalent among the rich during that time.

Back when America was harsh and largely unexplored, people came to start a new life. A peasant in the Old World packed what belongings he had, boarded a ship, and sailed for the wilderness of forests, trees, and rivers in the New World, not knowing what the future held and knowing only that hard work was what would put a roof above his head. Once settled he'd either work as a laborer or wheel and deal on anything he could get his hands on -- shipping, farming, mining, carpentry, or wallpapers -- so he could perhaps make a fortune that he could pass on to his succeeding generations.

Today, we view the lifestyles of the country’s rich sometimes with wonder and sometimes with contempt. The Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Kennedys, Fitzgeralds, and others are perhaps nothing but spoiled brats to many of us. But love them or hate them, the lives they lead today are exactly what their forefathers had in mind for them when they came to America years and years ago.











Thank you for looking! C&C welcome.

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Old Jun 2, 2010, 9:05 AM   #2
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I like your "cat's-eye" views in #1, #3 and #5. Also the front exterior HDR in #6, although the sky is a bit overdone IMHO.
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Old Jun 2, 2010, 2:56 PM   #3
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Amazing pics.

Best regards/Daniel
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Old Jun 2, 2010, 9:12 PM   #4
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Thanks, Walter. Thanks, Daniel.

Hopefully, I made an improvement on #6. I get carried away processing clouds sometimes...

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Old Jun 3, 2010, 1:43 AM   #5
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... and the ghostly figure in # 3 is .... ?
Bernice Olympus SP590 UZ, TCON-17, MCON-40
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 5:51 AM   #6
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Usual high standard, remarkable series thanks for sharing
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 6:27 AM   #7
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The angle that you shot the interior images really show of the rooms very well!
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 9:41 AM   #8
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Thank you, all, for the kind words. Actually, I think I bungled up on the best part of the tour -- the house’s main hall.

After being given the introduction by the tour guide outside in the garden, he told us to remove our sunglasses as it would be very dark inside. When you step in past the thick wooden doors from the hot sunshiny outdoors to the dark, air-conditioned main hall-cavern, you get the same feeling as when you walk into, say, a dark-themed attraction in Disneyworld like the Tower of Terror or Haunted Mansion -- the change is dramatic and you get a little giddy with excitement.

The main hall was big and wood paneled all-around. But I was still trying to get a feel for the crowd -- when they might clear or gather in one spot, etc. -- and so wasn’t able to get a good clear shot of the whole room.

In any case, I added some more pics including one of my “awkward” main hall shots.

#12) Main Hall.

#13) Approach to the mansion.

#14) Overlooking the Delaware River Valley in the Poconos.

#15) Dining pool where guests pick on and pass around floating food. That’s my son in the center.

#16) Picture book in the Library.

onlooker, regarding the “ghost” in #3, I wish it was a ghost. I would love to capture a “real” ghost .

Funny you mention that -- the Grey Towers website actually has something to say about it being haunted -- or not. It says, “...some claim to have ‘felt’ a presence. It depends on your personal interpretation...” I’ve been thinking whether that was a “yes” or “no” but I guess that, too, depends on your personal interpretation.

In any case, I may have already captured a ghost on film. I took this shot at Saint Paul’s in London in the summer of 1986. It may have been inside the Kitchener Chapel as I remember it being on a side entrance. That chapel is well known to be haunted. Now tell me that figure looking down on the man in prayer isn’t a ghost...

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Old Jun 3, 2010, 2:57 PM   #9
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I also really liked your interior shots.

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