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Harry Packer Mansion


The Harry Packer Mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Harry Packer Mansion in the town of Jim Thorpe was built in 1874. It is a two-and-one-half story, red brick structure, four bays across. On the front facade, Italianate-style windows with cast iron dripstones form the main focus. Each of the heavy dripstone arches has a keystone in the center. A veranda, made of green Vermont sandstone, extends across the front. The top portion of the veranda consists of semi-circular arches, with elaborate carving and bosses on the surrounding stone. Each arch has a keystone in repetition of the motif found on the dripstone. Corinthian columns support each arch to produce an arcaded effect. The columns rest on a railing of stone and cast iron, which follows curved steps around and down to the entrance to a summer kitchen. At the left side of the facade, a two-story, three-sided bay protrudes. It features Italianate windows on the second story. Raised brick corner quoins decorate each corner. The three hooded dormer windows above the bay consist of Italianate style windows, with a circular window above. The roof of the mansion is a mansard style, with a molded curb. Most dormer windows on the building have triangular pediments. The cornice is done entirely in cast iron. This elaborate cornice features an arch motif which extends below the roof line. Massive figured medallions decorate the corners. Dentils and heavy Italianate-style brackets complete the cornice.

A two-story extension to the left of the main structure has a basically rectangular shape, distorted by the presence of the bell tower and porch. The interesting bell tower rises above the extension. It is placed at an angle to the extensions' corner. The tower is purely ornamental. There is no access to it from below, and no bell inside the cupola. The tower has one window, above which is a brick arch motif. A bellcast copper roof is topped by a finial. The remainder of the extension has rectangular windows and small porch over the entranceway (identical to the main porch). The summer kitchen entrance also features a cast iron gate.

There have not been any significant alterations made to the exterior.

The interior of the Harry Packer Mansion consists of seventeen rooms. The original furniture was removed in 1912, but all of the woodwork remains except that from the dining room. The floors of the mansion are covered with English tile. The library contains outstanding carved mahogany woodwork, in Gothic Victorian style. Leaded stained glass and ornate chandeliers are other notable interior features.

Significance

The Harry Packer Mansion was built in 1874 for Harry Packer, son of millionaire railroad baron Asa Packer. The Mansion reflects the wealth of the Packer family, and as such is a reminder of Mauch Chunk's past condition, when the town was inhabited by a dozen millionaires. This Mansion is one of a few outstanding remaining vestiges of the era when the town was a prosperous commercial and transport center and a vacation haven for the wealthy.

The Mansion is also a fine example of Victorian architecture as adapted in a vernacular style. The architect of the building is unknown. The strongly Italian Renaissance flavor of the house is evident in the repeated arch motif and bell cupola. The red brick and Vermont sandstone form a pleasing combination of color and texture. The cast iron cornice is unusual and outstanding. Finally, the interior of the mansion (particularly the library) is of excellent work and in good condition.

References

Law, Robert W., Anthology of Mauch Chunk. Pennsylvania. Delwood's Inc., San Jose, California, 1966.

  1. McMurry, Sally, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, Harry Packer Mansion, nomination document, 1974, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Harry Packer Mansion Map

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