Castle, Fortress, or Museum
Surprisingly this building has always been a museum. Henry Mercer designed it specifically to house his collection. Although the design seems unusual, it met Mercer's goals perfectly. He believed that a fireproof, waterproof, concrete building would best ensure the preservation of this collection.
Building His Museum
Mercer's crew of about eight workers began construction of the Museum in 1913. Working ten hours a day, six days a week, the crew poured the concrete section-by-section, level-by-level including the concrete roof. Not an architect by training, Mercer directed his crew without blueprints, using only sketches and verbal instructions. By 1916 they had completed the massive structure, the final of Mercer's three buildings, using an astounding 6,000 tons of concrete.
Changes at the Mercer
Throughout its history this site has undergone numerous changes. In 1907 the brick Elkins building was built as the headquarters of the Bucks County Historical Society, a private non-profit which owns and operates the Museum. Henry Mercer significantly changed the nature of the site with the completion of the central concrete Mercer Museum in 1916. From this vantage point you can still view the large red doors which once served as the Museum's main entrance.
1930s the Museum's Research Library wing was added, and then later expanded in the 1970s. 2011 marked the completion of another expansion with the addition of a state of the art exhibition space and the relocation of the entrance to the side of the building.
[Image captions, from left to right, read]
· Image of the Construction of the Original Mercer Museum c.1915
· Sketch by Henry Mercer Showing Mercer Museum Construction Details c.1915
· Image of the Mercer Museum Entrance 2012