Keeping History Alive: Manufacturer Donation Helps Preserve Buildings on Historical Museum Site
Generosity begins at home, and Drexel Metals’ generosity will help ensure future generations can experience historical Doylestown, Pa., and the Mercer Museum, located about an hour north of Philadelphia.
Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle are nonprofit National Historic Landmarks, designed by Henry Mercer and now operated by the Bucks County Historical Society. Two buildings on the property in need of immediate repair were the Rufe Building and a barn. The Rufe Building, named for its last tenant, Rufe Brothers Plumbing & Heating, is located directly across the street from the museum and used for storage and educational classes that can’t be conducted in the castle. The historic barn was built by a third-generation of the Hart family that first settled on the property in 1732.
Drexel Metals donated materials to re-roof both buildings, approximately 10,500 square feet of 0.032-inch aluminum, 16-inch DMC 150 SL snap-lock standing seam roofing, installed by Economy Roofing of New Britain, Pa.
“Thanks to an extraordinarily generous contribution by Drexel Metals on these projects, we were able to preserve these buildings,” said Doug Dolan, president and executive director of the Mercer Museum. “In this day and age governed by the bottom dollar, it says a lot about someone who will stop to help a nonprofit. The donation of roofing materials was instrumental in allowing us to proceed with further preserving those structures.”
The Bucks County Historical Society hoped to replace the roof on the barn with a standing seam system. “Historical documentation shows that the original roof was a standing seam roof,” Dolan said. “Drexel Metals’ contribution made it all possible.”
The museum, located in the six-story stone castle, offers programs, events, exhibits and tours for all ages, including an extensive library for family historians. At the museum, students are allowed to explore the creative genius of Mercer (1856-1930) and his collecting legacy. He was a historian, archaeologist, artist and tile maker. Students experience life in early America and the Delaware Valley in the exhibits. Among the programs available are Log Home Life, Frontier Trading, Simple Machines and A Civil War Soldier’s Life.
The Mercer Museum also includes two artifact collections: those related to “everyday life in pre-industrial America” and those that document the history of Bucks County and the Delaware Valley.
Partyka believes in preserving historical buildings that can be used as educational tools for people of all ages. “Everyone can find a way to relate to local history,” he said. “For Drexel Metals, the fact that standing seam metal roofing was the roofing of choice for those who lived in our community 100 and even 200 years ago shows that they were erecting buildings to last. We’re happy to be a part of helping them last even longer.”