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Administration Building, Arcadia University (“Grey Towers,” William B. Harrison House)

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“Grey Towers,” William B. Harrison House
1893, Horace Trumbauer. 420 S. Easton Rd. at PA 73, Glenside, 2.4 miles northwest of Elkins Park
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)

The Harrison family made vast sums in sugar refining and when they sold the business the children used the new resources to build mansions (William) and the University of Pennsylvania (Charles Custis). The Harrison estate was acquired in 1929 by Beaver College, a small western Pennsylvania institution founded by the Methodists in 1853 that moved east when it lost the support of their founding church. The main house now serves as the central administration building for the thriving Arcadia University. In this ambitious early project, Horace Trumbauer learned from the Price brothers’ “Woodmont” of 1891–1893 ( MO14) in pulling out all the stops to re-create a Welsh castle whose round towers and battlements were based on the early-nineteenth-century castle revival. With its adjacent carriage house it attests to the wealth created by industrial capitalism as the nineteenth century ended.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Administration Building, Arcadia University (“Grey Towers,” William B. Harrison House)", [Glenside, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 209-210.

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