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One Tank Trip: Aldie Mansion

One Tank Trip: Aldie Mansion

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - The Christmas decorations are up at Aldie Mansion in Bucks County, with the centerpiece being a great tree in the Great Hall.

"It's a labor of love," said Tammy Schane, Aldie Mansion's membership coordinator.

They're ready to ring in the holidays at Aldie Mansion. Technically, it's the second one of the same name in Doylestown. The first one was a cottage.

The other Aldie Mansion was built in 1927. It was home to William R, Mercer Jr. and his wife Martha Dana.

"If this was gone, I'm not sure people would know who Willie was," Schane said. His brother, Henry Chapman Mercer, is, of course, more famous today, but back in the late 1800s, early 1900s, they were both equally famous."

They were known for their work in concrete. You'll find Willie's work in the formal dining room, but tour guides like Catharine Chambers go beyond the brothers' business.

"The Mercer family, the Chapman family, they were so interesting, and the women were very powerful for that time period. It really is a wealth of information," Chambers explained.

Her favorite story must be good. She said it's too risque to reveal in our story, so you'll have to take the tour yourselves for that one.

Chambers did tell us her second favorite story. It's about Willie's Aunt Lela, who met her future husband, T. Bigelow Lawrence, in Europe.

"They fell in love, and she sent a letter home and she said, 'I've met T. Bigelow Lawrence and he was very taken with me.' She was a hoot. She really was," Chambers explained.

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And like all of the women of the house, she was outspoken.

"Well, they didn't expect women to be seen and not heard and the women brought in several generations a lot of money to the family," Chambers said.

They often used the money to entertain, hosting lavish parties at the mansion.

"Gibert and Sullivans Opera Company also performed operas here during the Great Depression, so they weren't as depressed as other people, and she would invite everyone," Schane said.

At a Christmas party in 1941, the Von Trapp family sang Christmas carols from the balcony.


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