The Rowley House
Stained Glass Window in Rowley House
Eber Culver designed and built
this house on Millionaires' Row in 1888 for E.A. Rowley, one of
the wealthiest men in Pennsylvania. It is one of the most architecturally
significant houses in the Commonwealth.
Throughout his life, Rowley
operated and directed many businesses. His list of credits include
serving as chairman of the National Furniture Co., organizing the
Kettle Creek Coal Mining Co., serving as a director of the Lumberman's
National Bank, president of the Susquehanna Trust and Safe Deposit
Box Co., majority stock holder in the First National Bank, director
in the Merchants National Bank, president of the Self-Locking Buckle
Suspender Co., president of the Culler and Hawley Furniture Co.,
owner of a stock farm, and a valuable real estate owner in the West
and in Washington, D.C.
As the owner of one of Pennsylvania’s
largest wood-working machine companies, Rowley and Hermance Machine
Co., Rowley's home was a showcase of wood work from mahogany, cherry,
maple, walnut, white and red oak to yellow pine. He was president
of the Edison Electric Co., and equipped his home with some of the
finest and earliest electric light available. He also owned a gas
fireplace company (Backus Manufacturing Co.) and equipped each fireplace
in his home with modern gas logs.
At the time the house was built,
the Williamsport Gazette and Bulletin noted the residence
had the finest plaster moldings and ceiling medallions in the city.
Also noted was the expensive English Minton Tiles (in each fireplace
and the vestibule) imported from Stoke-on-Trent, England. The tiles
depict Renaissance Revival figures and contemporary heroes, such
as Ulysses S. Grant. The article mentioned conveniences such as
gas and electric lighting, water closets, dumbwaiters, and speaking
tubes. However, an even more significant feature of the house is
the breathtaking Tiffany-quality stained glass windows set in the
east to catch the morning sun along the staircase landing, and set
in the west to catch the early evening light in the dining room.
These stained glass windows incorporate every facet of the glass
maker’s art including etched glass, beveled glass, jeweled
stained glass, faceted glass, and hand-painted and fired glass.
E.A. Rowley's etched initials shine through the largest window in
The floor plan includes an enormous
ball room on the third floor, a library, double parlors, a sewing
room, a baking room, a butler's pantry, a carriage house, and the
carriage keeper’s quarters.
The most amazing thing about
this mansion is that it still exists, more than 115 years later.