If you are visiting Milford Pennsylvania be sure to stop and explore Grey Towers National Historic Site. Before you step inside the Gifford Pinchot House or The Pinchot Institute, be sure to walk the grounds like we did. Before going to the Milford Pet Supply store for our cats, we went to visit the Pinchot grounds. It was a beautiful surprise for me and our first time visiting.
Pinchot Manor – Grey Towers Mansion
Once you park your car at the parking lot and walk up the stairs, you can walk to your left or right. The amphitheater is to your left and to your right is the path to the Pinchot mansion. We decided to take the path to the mansion, enjoying the beautiful paved road with amazing landscape views and fruit trees. We arrived at the mansion half after nine, and the mansion was not open yet. This was fine with us because we wanted to take in all the outside beauty this place has to offer. From the intricate lead turkey sculptures to the goat heads in the garden, to the incredible spiral columns at the Bait Box, everything was just magical!
A minute after ten we arrived in front of The Letter Box building which was built from 1926-27. I hesitantly pulled on the door not expecting it to be open to the public but was pleasantly surprised. On the television screen was a homemade movie playing, showcasing the Pinchot father and son fishing. We stood there in awe enjoying the old footage and the information we were being given. I expected this to be a short film but after a few minutes, we sat down to watch the rest of it in comfort.
The movie showcased everything from the family feeding their pets to a short clip of President Kennedy visiting the Grey Towers mansion. In 1963, President Kennedy stated that “He (Gifford Pinchot) was more than a forester, he was the father of American conservation.” This film lasted about 30 minutes but in that short time, we learned a lot. Walking out of the building felt even more surreal knowing the people that helped built this place loved nature as much as we do. Without the Pinchot family would we even have national parks surrounding us?
Gifford Pinchot – Forester and Politician
Gifford Pinchot’s father, James, asked his son to be a forester. Since the family was wealthy and believed in conservation, he wanted his son to take a role in doing something important that the common man can enjoy. After Gifford graduated from Yale he went to Europe and enrolled in the French National School of Forestry in Nancy. After 13 months and before completing his studies, Gifford returned to the States. He believed he learned enough to start the profession of forestry in America.
Over the years he worked as manager of the forests and later became the special forest agent for the United States Department of the Interior. In 1898, he was the head of the Division of Forestry. Under his leadership, the division grew from 60 individuals to 500 in seven years. Another achievement in Gifford Pitchot’s life was marrying a feminist activist Cornelia Bryce. If you want to learn more about this incredible couple, you need to visit the Grey Towers National Historic Site. We will be going back for sure with our family and friends.