DESPITE the burden of a tragic Titanic story, Peter Widener’s sprawling mansion has managed to withstand the test of time.
The wealthy American businessman has invested millions to bring his vision to life at Lynnewood Hall – where his heartbreak still plagues the walls.
His stunning mansion was once considered one of the finest properties in Pennsylvania before it fell into disrepair.
The overflowing art collector and pioneer of public transport began building the house in 1897 before completing the project in 1900.
With ornate interiors, a mighty T-shaped floor plan and an impressive facade, the property was rightly considered a work of art.
Widener’s grand plan was born out of grief—when he was desperate to create a “comfortable” family home after the death of his wife Hannah in 1896.
It was the first tragedy at sea to rock the wealthy brood when the mother died aboard her yacht off the Maine coast.
Acclaimed architect Horace Trumbauer designed every aspect of the $250 million block, which has been dubbed “American Versailles” thanks to its 55 bedrooms, 20 bathrooms, art gallery and massive ballroom.
Widener hired an army of 37 employees to manage his palace, while another 60 were employed to tend to the endless gardens.
His flair for creativity and grandeur made the property drip with silk, velvet and gilded moldings in each of the 110 rooms.
Chairs were brought from Louis XV’s palace, while Persian rugs and Chinese pottery adorned the 70,000-square-foot mega-mansion.
No expense has been spared on this spectacular property – it features gilded gold doors, extravagant hallways, an indoor pool and a grand staircase.
Widener’s extensive art collection lined the walnut paneled walls while he hired contractors to build his own squash court.
But as he drew his family into mourning the loss of his late wife, he began looking for other business opportunities.
The transport tycoon decided to take his expertise to the water by helping fund the construction of the White Star Line’s newest and greatest ship – RMS Titanic.
Inevitably, he was offered a place on the ill-fated ship in 1912 – but declined due to his poor health and reaching 78 years of age.
But the JP Morgan employee’s son, daughter-in-law and grandson – George, Eleanor and Harry – took his place instead.
The trio had been in France looking for a top chef to oversee the kitchen at their new hotel, The Ritz Carlton.
They accepted the offer to return home in style on the doomed liner and were sad on board when it sank in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912.
Widener’s beloved son George and grandson Harry perished at sea, while Eleanor miraculously survived the fatal voyage.
The tragedy left a huge void in the mansion of the financier, who was then one of the richest men in the world.
The Void somewhat foretold the future of Lynnewood Hall, which was later abandoned.
Widener died three years after the Titanic disaster and ownership of the luxury estate passed to his youngest and only surviving son, Joseph.
After his death in 1943, none of his children wanted to take on the responsibility of maintaining the historic mansion.
The house, now desolate and disheveled, was left empty until radio star Carl McIntire bought it almost a decade later.
McIntire turned the massive home into a religious school, but financial problems closed it in 1992.
They had sold priceless furnishings and fixtures to raise money — including more than 350 acres of land — but the church still couldn’t raise enough money.
The once magnificent manor house has been stripped of its treasures – like 16th-century European castle murals and artworks by the likes of Vermeer, Rembrandt, El Greco, Manet and others.
Four years later, the building — reportedly in need of several repairs that McIntire never addressed — was given to the First Korean Church of New York.
Although the massive home was built in 1900 for $8 million — which would add up to around $224 million today with inflation — the home was reportedly listed for sale in 2019 for $20 million.
Since then, a brave army of historians and Lynnewood Hall fans have rallied to revive the beauty of the mansion.
The Lynnewood Hall Preservation Foundation Inc has made it its mission to clean up every inch of the gargantuan mansion — and its secret rooms.
President Angie van Scyoc said: “Every time we are here, we discover something new.”
The once-magnificent estate is barely recognizable from its heyday, having seemingly crumbled under the weight of its tragic legacy.
Each space is eerily empty, stripped of its personality to reveal its cold, hard concrete and faded luster.
Although some of its original features remain intact, the ceilings have partially collapsed, leaving the swimming pool in ruins.
Only the ballroom has managed to hold on to its opulence, as it still features its famous gilded ceiling.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6851768/creepy-abandoned-mansion-tragic-link-titanic/ Inside, a spooky abandoned $250 million mansion with a tragic connection to the sinking of the Titanic