Lynnewood Hall was once called “the last American Versailles.” And from far away at least, this grand Pennsylvania estate definitely seems to live up to such an impressive nickname. Step inside, however, and you quickly see that the former family home has fallen into a heartbreaking state of disrepair. It’s a sad end for a magnificent building that once belonged to an investor in the blighted RMS Titanic.
Even the estate itself has apparently shrunk. While Lynnewood Hall once took in over 350 acres of picturesque Pennsylvania, now it is surrounded by a mere 33 acres. But that’s still enough green space to keep the mansion out of public view and shrouded in mystery. And the folks who are fascinated by Lynnewood Hall will naturally know a bit about its past.
The story of its owners is a tragic one. Peter Arrell Brown Widener had the home extended to accommodate his sons and their families after his wife died in a yachting accident. And he would experience even more heartache after investing in an ill-fated venture that resulted in more lives lost at sea. We’re talking, of course, about the Titanic.
Before that catastrophe, Widener had built himself a huge T-shaped mansion that measured in at 70,000 square feet. The Philadelphian needed ample space for his extensive art collection, you see, and some apparently called his home “the house that art built” for this very reason. But it wasn’t just the masterpieces by El Greco, Rembrandt, and Raphael that made the place so special.
As Lynnewood Hall was reportedly built to mimic age-old French architecture, much of the interior was velvet-covered, gilded, silk-draped, or otherwise ornate. Back in the day, it was quite a sight. But now, the place has been left unused for decades. And the once-stunning property has fallen into an eerie state of disrepair, marred by the tragedy that befell the family who owned it.