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 house.

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.


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