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For Sale at Auction

Sept 29, 2018

1888 Victorian: Queen Anne

301 Washington St
Birdsboro, Pennsylvania

Historic Brooke Mansion





Preview Times (Personal Property Only) - Thursday, Sept. 27 1:00 p.m. thru 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 29 from 7:00 a.m. thru sale.

This beautiful circa 1887 mansion is a true masterpiece designed by RENOWNED ARCHITECT FRANK FURNESS & built by IRON BARON EDWARD BROOKE II as a wedding gift for his bride Ann Louise Clingon.

This rare gem still retains over 95% of the original architectural features which include 42 total rooms; 16 bedrooms; 11 bathrooms; an outstanding 2 story entry foyer with open staircase; 10 custom built & unique working fireplaces; circular rosewood library with carved bookcases; outstanding stained/leaded glass windows; original walk-in safe; original wooden elevator; large wrap-around porch; full basement and many other outstanding features.

This mansion is situated on a 3 acre tract of land in South Central Pennsylvania in the heart of Pa. Dutch Country & the thriving Berks/Lancaster County Antique Markets. The property is just north of French Creek State Park and is within easy driving distance of Philadelphia, New York City & Washington D.C.

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Horst Auction Web Page


Auction Flyer (Adobe PDF file)
Bedrooms 16
Full Baths 8
Half Baths 2
Heated Sq. Ft. 13,677
Stories 3
Acres 3.0


  • Dining room
  • Foyer
  • Kitchen
  • Living room
  • Unfinished Basement
  • Built-in Bookcases
  • Fireplaces
  • Grand staircase
  • Original wood windows
  • Wood floors
  • City sewer
  • City water supply
  • Claw-foot Tub(s)
  • Pocket Doors
  • Stained Glass Windows
  • Turret
  • Wrap Around Porch

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The Architect: Frank Furness

The mansion reflects Furness' unique artistic vision. His aesthetic philosophies were shaped by his remarkable life and family. As a boy, Frank's father's friendships with the great intellectuals, artists, and philosophers of the day provided a rich environment that nurtured Frank's unconventional approach to architecture.

Frank learned the value of non-conformity and strong personal principles from his father. The elder Furness was a prominent Unitarian minister who stood squarely against anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic movements and especially against slavery- no mean feat in Philadelphia at the time.

Although Frank grew up witnessing the constant threat of violence because of his father's progressive stance, the intellectual atmosphere of his home and the influence of his father and his contemporaries paved the way for his pioneering architectural career. Ralph Waldo Emerson himself sparked Frank's passion for architecture with a gift that featured pictures of buildings. As a leader of the Transcendental Movement, Emerson's staunch belief in the insurmountable importance of the individual is evident in Frank's later work.

Frank's character and work were also influenced by his wartime experiences, for Frank's burgeoning architectural career was interrupted by the Civil War. Many well-connected young men of the day chose to ride out the war in Europe, but young Frank served just as bravely as one would expect from a Furness. By the end of the war, he had performed at least two recorded acts of heroism, earning him the distinction of being the only architect to ever be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Once the war was over, Furness returned to his architectural career with a stronger personal character and a greater willingness to take risks. He experimented in his early collaborations with daring, innovative color and design. He pioneered the concept of Corporate Imagery in his designs of some eighty train stations across Pennsylvania for the Reading Railroad. His work for the railroad also prompted him to research and develop time and cost saving strategies in the construction of his buildings.

The Brooke Family

Then, in 1888, Frank was commissioned by industrialist Edward Brooke II of Birdsboro, PA to design Brooke Mansion. This project was the perfect meeting of minds, for both Furness and Brooke possessed the same individualistic, bold character and principles. The Brooke family had emigrated to the United States from England in 1698 and eventually their firm, the Birdsboro Steel Corporation, became the heart and soul of Birdsboro.

Their home combines the romance of Victorian architecture with the innovative design characteristic of the American Renaissance. Edward's awe-inspiring gift to his beloved wife Ann also exemplifies the ambitious commercial energy of Pennsylvania in the late 1800's.

The Mansion

A first-time visitor to Brooke is immediately impressed by the meticulously crafted stained-glass front doors. The lines and forms of the mahogany exterior façade complement this elegant craftsmanship. Inside the mansion, the wood of choice is a warm quarter sawn oak, save for the large rosewood library that played a central part in the lives of the Brookes.

The library contains one of the ten distinctive fireplaces found throughout the mansion. Although all the fireplaces were carved in Europe before being sent over, Furness used his own nature-inspired designs in their decoration. The mansion's intricately carved main staircase is just as lovingly constructed, with elegant organic forms.

This extensive use of natural forms is typical Furness, for he continuously strove to unite his architectural forms with nature. As one moves through Brooke Mansion and out onto the spacious wrap-around porch, the interior, exterior and surrounding grounds flow harmoniously together.

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