The Ideal City

Here in Baltimore we have an extraordinary art gallery called the Walters Art Museum.  Given to the city in 1931 by Henry Walters, the collection of art and artifacts was started by family patriarch William Walters during the American Civil War, when William took his family to Europe to avoid the conflict.   Greatly expanded by son Henry in the early 20th century, the original townhouse is on the corner of Mt. Vernon Place (the nicest block in Baltimore, adjoining the Peabody Conservatory and the 200 foot Washington Monument), combined with several properties to construct an immense, opulent gallery building.

Walters Art Museum in Baltimore

The gallery was designed by William Adams Delano and was completed in 1909. From Wikipedia: The exterior was inspired by the Renaissance-revival style Hôtel Pourtalès in Paris and its interior was modeled after the 17th-century Collegio dei Gesuiti (now the Palazzo dell’Università) built by the Balbi family for the Jesuits in Genoa.

Historic View of Walters Museum Galleries

Inside there are various rooms with salon-style exhibitions, and a fantastic paneled room called the Curiosities Room with a great collection of nature’s wonders including a butterfly collection set in low vitrines, really popular with children.

My favorite piece in the collection is a Renaissance painting called The Ideal City, attributed to architect Fra Carnevale ca. 1480-1484.  The subject is an imaginary Greco-Roman city with the most orderly layout and a sweeping, panoramic perspective.

The Ideal City, Renaissance Painting by Fra Carnevale ca. 1584

From the Walter’s website: The imaginary city square features a Roman arch typically erected as a commemoration of military victory at its center. As a whole, the painting offers a model of the architecture and sculpture that would ideally be commissioned by a virtuous ruler who cares for the welfare of the citizenry.  The work was… apparently commissioned for the palace of Duke Federico da Montefeltro of Urbino. Set into the woodwork at shoulder height or higher, “The Ideal City” would have seemed like a window onto another, better world.

The Walters is presently displaying reproductions of some pieces around town in the Off The Wall program; placing popular paintings outside to reinforce the point that the collection is for the benefit of everybody in the city.  I was delighted to see The Ideal City on Hopkins Plaza downtown, in front of a government building.

The Ideal City in Baltimore

There is no little irony this picture is placed in front of an administration building – one that I have been stopped by guards for taking pictures before.  I snapped this one quickly.  The plaza is a 1970s-era concrete valley between tall, modernist government buildings.  Not exactly the same view as depicted by Signore Carnevale, but nearly as devoid of people due to unpleasant gusts of winter wind, and a pervasive feeling that relaxing there is not allowed.  The curator of Off the Wall has done well to place the picture here, juxtaposing the “better world” of Duke da Montefeltro with this forlorn plaza.

Of course The Ideal City might have shown more people enjoying the space as it was intended, but perhaps the artist didn’t want to muddy up his picture?  The scene also lacks of trees or other greenery of any kind.  Is this the way the artist envisioned it, something which exists in a fantasy, like a scale model or digital rendering of the future?  A private playground for the Duke to enjoy, unspoiled by throngs of lower classes milling about?

A deeper read into The Ideal City reveals that Renaissance planning was perhaps concerned not only with aesthetics and solving immediate social needs, but the dream of a tamed, perfect climate and a gentle, educated humanity sharing a peaceful world.  To me, The Ideal City is nothing less than the enlightenment of man, free of social ills and living a sweeping, harmonious democratic existence, manifested as this perfect, delightful environment.

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SieMatic Haus Fair 2012 – Highlights

It is that time of year again – the lovely weather and hospitality of Germany and SieMatic’s Haus Fair, an in-house factory show of new designs and finishes for 2013.  For those unfamiliar, SieMatic is a leading luxury kitchen maker in Europe, and I have been involved with this fine company for almost 20 years.  Along with 15 of my North American colleagues, I made the trek to Westphalia again for meetings and training on new product.  Here are my impressions from our visit.

SieMatic has two handle-less series of cabinets, the luxurious S2 and more price-conscious S3 series.  Many new features and new colors were introduced for S3, greatly enhancing its appeal.  Here we have a wonderfully-restrained Graphite and Lotus White gloss laminate display:

SieMatic S3 Image Kitchen from Haus Fair 2012

The same kitchen was on display with yellow accents.  The same layout as above, except the unique features are more visible in yellow, including the interesting end shelf, the yellow finger strip area and a metal frame tall glass cabinet with yellow interior.

Graphite and Yellow SieMatic S3 Display

In another display, we can see a detail of the finger grip.  Both the horizontal backing strip (aluminum) and the actual integrated grip can be color coordinated and mix-matched in a variety of new colors, including this Poppy Red.

SieMatic S3 grip slot detail in Poppy Red

Another display shows the end shelf in “Olive Green”, which is really more of an apple green.  Here the individual handles (mounted on each door) can be seen.

SieMatic S3 with Olive Green Accents

Another S3 concept showed a run of demi-height cabinets with refrigerator and oven housings on each end.  A combination of Sterling Grey and Graphite, the use of finger channel here is quite creative, showing how the cabinets can alternate between contrasting and matching; the finger channel and cooking cabinet are both Graphite.  This mix/match feature could be a powerful tool for designers to bring individual design to their kitchen clients.

SieMatic S2 Concept from Haus Fair 2012

An S2 Floating Spaces display was shown in White with Natural Oak and also in the new  Graphite Grey.  Last year’s “Floating Spaces” shelves featured nicely in this new concept, but enclosed in panels and shown in the more elegant 13mm version.  Note the integrated electrical sockets on the island end panel, and also the floor-grazing lower pullout fronts which highlight a very mono-block feel.

SieMatic S2 Floating Spaces Image Kitchen

A detail of the Graphite/Walnut display showing the shelf detail:

SieMatic S2 Concept with Natural Oak Floating Spaces Shelves

A very elegant SE/S2 Floating Spaces concept was shown in a new gloss lacquer, Agate Grey, mixed here with Black Gloss lacquer.  Almost a Beaux Arts concept, there was an abundance of sparkle from gloss lacquer, polished metal, mirror and glass.

SieMatic SE/S2 Floating Spaces Concept

Here is a close-up of the cooking area.  You can see the upper “bridge cabinets”, which featured in other displays this year as well.  The top cabinets do not match the lower, but have a randomized series of divisions for a fresh, unexpected feel.

Detail of SieMatic 8008/S2 "Beaux Arts" concept, Haus Fair 2012

The biggest news was perhaps the least sexy, from a display point of view.  SieMatic has shied away from continuous grain/book-matched veneer, until now.  For a premium over normal veneer prices, they will now do either vertical or horizontal continuous or book-matched grains on request.

SieMatic Contiuous Grain Veneer - News Haus Fair 2012

A view to the full collection of veneer from SieMatic.  These are all very useable, on-trend finishes.

Full Assortment of SieMatic Veneer

2012 marks 30 years of SieMatic in the United States.  The very first dealer, Euro Kitchens in Laguna Beach California, is still going strong.  Mr. Siekmann presented Euro Kitchens principals Claude and Fari Moritz with a special award for their amazing milestone.  I have worked with Claude and Fari on their displays and also some renderings for their clients.  Here are the three of us in one of the Haus Fair displays.

Mick Ricereto, Claude and Fari Moritz from Euro Kitchens, Laguna Beach CA.

We stayed in a couple of different small towns near the factory, both “bath towns” with natural springs and a long history of wellness.  Here is a building situated in the lovely public park in Bad Oeynhausen.

A public park building in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany

Our other town was Bad Salzuflen.  This city had a tremendous amount of character.  Walking the streets showed a variety of stone and half-timber small buildings, all in excellent shape.  Our hotel was a series of old buildings linked together, with the oldest from 1560.

Street Scene from Bad Salzuflen

In the middle of town is a large T-shaped wall of sorts.  For over two centuries, the mineral springs in this area have been mined for their salt (hence, the name Salz – meaning salt).  Water is pumped out of the ground and trickled over this structure, with the mineral deposits clinging to the surface as the water evaporates.

Bad Salzuflen Salt Structure

The walls are constructed of bundles of cut thorny brush, about 6 feet deep, placed in horizontal stacks.  Water just trickles down from the top.  As the mineral water cascades down, a refreshing seashore-like air blankets the town.  A local mentioned they replace the brush every 7 years.

Detail of Bad Salzuflen Mineral Wall

One pavilion has an interior fitted with benches for resting and taking in the air.  We tried it ourselves for a bit of jet-lag therapy.  Germans have a special “wellness clause” in their health insurance; if they need a break from the fast pace of modern life they can come visit a health resort town such as Bad Salzuflen.  I can attest that nobody was rushing around this little town – it was all about relaxing.  A detail of the interior showing the bundles of thorny brush:

Interior of Mineral Wall Structure in Bad Salzuflen, Germany

On the last night we shared a great group meal in a small timber-frame room at the hotel, drinking German wine and trying the local flavors.  It is always great to catch up with old friends at the shows, and also to welcome new people to the SieMatic family, such as the resellers from Montreal.  Speaking of Montreal, my design is being installed and the opening party is scheduled for October.  Be sure to return for those highlights later in autumn, as I plan to go back up for the final touches and to share in the celebration.

Montreal Part Deux – Golden Square Mile

Continuing my walk around Montreal, here is a quick tour of the Golden Square Mile, the “uptown” area developed in the Gilded Age.  So named because of the large residences and prominent office buildings/shopping destinations, the area still has a manicured, refined feel.  The fine arts museum anchors Sherbrooke Street with a lovely 1912 Beaux Arts structure.

Museum of Fine Art in Montreal; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

Across the street is a modern museum structure by Moshe Safdie, which does look a little out of place.  I didn’t scrutinize it, mostly because the morning sun was coming from right behind it.  However, Montreal does not seem shy about contrasting new with old, as this adjacent structure illustrates.

Museum structure; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

I walked right up to that nook between old and new; the glass mullions are pressed right up against the old stone.  Its a nice detail.

There are many residences along Sherbrooke, and plaques mark the most significant.  Here are some doors and facade details:

Private Residence; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

A walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

There was a lovely pair of buildings further down the block with some exceptional landscaping in front.  Overall, the street plantings in MTL were quite good.  I imagine winter must be pretty bleak but it does look great in the summer.

Lovely facade; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

A walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

The building to the left was on the corner, and I walked around and checked out the courtyard and carriage house.  This funny little “guardhouse” structure was tacked on to the back of the main structure.  It looks like a roof that was added above the basement stairs… very odd for such a sober, historical structure.

Little Guardhouse; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

A nicely-detailed apartment building entrance:

Apartment building entrance; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

Continuing the juxtaposition of old and new, the Ritz Carlton hotel is adding a shockingly-modern glass structure to their old building.

Ritz Carlton; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

Next door was the Streamline Modern Holt Renfrew department store.  This seemed to be the haute shopping corridor of MTL, with Coach, Prada and the like on these several blocks.

Streamline Moderne design; a walking tour of the Golden Square Mile

Behind this neighborhood is a long set of stairs which leads to the entrance of Parc du Mont Royal – the small mountain in the center of the city-island.  If you have been reading my posts on urban walks, you know I love hilly cities.  Walking up these shaded stairs was a great treat in the middle of summer.  Everything was very clean, no litter or signs of danger.  The promise of a huge urban park awaits my ascent.

Stairs linking Golden Square Mile to Parc du Mont Royal

There were some grand apartment houses at the base of the park, which is also the edge of McGill University campus.

Apartment house at the top of McGill University in Montreal

This house had an incredible view of the city, as right behind the mountain begins rising.  A short walk up the road is the park entrance.  Along with scores of others, I walked up the hundreds of steps and around the meandering Frederick Law Olmstead driveways to the Chalet du Mont Royal – the lookout spot.  The view is pretty spectacular; my manually stitched Android photo:

Panoramic Image of Montreal

Overall however, the park was a bit disappointing.  It didn’t seem all that “wild”, and there were no other designed-in views or features to get excited about.  I took to the single-track walking trails through the forested parts, but they very quickly led right back to main carriage paths.  I only found one interesting bridge feature, but even that was not up to the usual FLO/Vaux quality.  So, I descended the long stairs and went back to the city.  I was going to try the Bixi bike rental, but the kiosk I approached was not taking my credit card, so I jumped on the subway.  Built in 1967 (the pinnacle of MTL, the year of the big Expo), it is very clean and the cars run on rubber tires, just like Paris.

Next up will be a short tour of the bohemian St. Louis Square, my favorite little spot in MTL.

Vieux Montréal – Walking Montreal’s Old City

I am presently working on a project in Montreal, a new SieMatic studio across the island from the main city in Brossard.  It is a good space with very smart owners and I’m sure the new business will be a success.  I will post about the studio as the project comes together.  Since I had never been to Montreal before, I was excited to walk around – the flâneur that I am – and experience the fabric of the city.  Following are some street views of Vieux Montréal – the old city.

Maisoneuve Monument in Old Montreal

This is a view of the Maisoneuve monument and the old Bank of Montreal building.  This space has a lovely scale, and the light was incredible on an early summer’s evening.  The ashlar-pattern paving is detailed in a modern fashion, meshed in with older Belgian block paving stones living the vehicle lanes.  The trees were young maples; there must be some fantastic color in Montreal in autumn as maples are a favorite street tree throughout the city.  Some street scenes:

A grand old building in Vieux Montreal

On the left: this little restaurant reminds me of a place in Barcelona.  To the right, a curious little building.  A Louer means “for rent”.

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick RiceretoA walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

There are some very narrow streets in the old city.  It is very quiet after work hours (but before the all-night party begins).  Some quiet alley scenes:

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

The care and craftsmanship taken on these old buildings is amazing.  Even though this building faces a small little alley, look at this cornice:

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

I just love old portal, courtyard buildings, carriage houses:

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

 

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick RiceretoThe old city adjoins the lovely waterfront, the old port.  The city used to compete with New York City for shipping to the midwest; all ocean cargo headed up the St. Lawrence river needed to disembark at Montreal and go through the Lachine Canal.  This era ended when the St. Lawrence seaway opened in the 1950’s, among other factors, and we are now left with an amazing still-life of industrial ruins.

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto - the old grain elevators of the old port on the Lachine canal.

Directly across the waterway are two islands, which were developed around the time of Expo ’67.  This is a view of the incredible housing complex Habitat 67, designed by Moshe Safdie.

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto - View of Habitat 67

A view of Lachine Canal:

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto - Lachine Canal

There is a wonderful feeling of summer outdoor activity in Montreal.  There is a great bike path going right through this section of the city – bikers were whizzing by constantly.  Lovers strolling, young families having a quiet picnic on the grass.  Everything was so civilized.  An outdoor bar and two “food trucks” were placed on the quay – I tried a pizza from one of these trucks; it was made fresh right there in front of my eyes – and it was quite good!

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto - Muvbox "food trucks" in the old port.

It was getting dark pretty quick.  I found a roof-top bar and relaxed with a drink among the sound of French conversation.  On my way to my hotel – a hip new building in total contrast to old Montreal – I walked through what I would discover is just one of many pedestrian-only streets.  This could be mistaken for Quebec City; a bit touristy, and lots of souvenir shops.  Still, lovely.

A walking tour of Vieux Montreal by Mick Ricereto

In future installments I will post reports of other walks I took in Montreal; the lovely Beaux Arts-era Golden Mile and my favorite spot I found, St. Louis Square.

30 Minutes in Milwaukee

I had business in Milwaukee last week, north of the city.  On the way back to the airport I pulled off downtown to have a look around.  I used to drive through MKE quite a bit when I worked for Kohler, although I never explored it much since we would usually fly in and drive straight to HQ in Sheboygan.  A few times we did go downtown, usually at night, and I remember the streets having a great vibe.  So on this early, cloudy April day I parked the car and walked a few blocks.

My impressions?  The downtown area just north of 3rd Ward has some very impressive buildings.  [EDIT – the eastern downtown area is called Juneau Town] The streets are fairly wide and it must have been quite a scene in the city’s manufacturing heyday in the early 20th century.  The color of the brick (not red – is it “buff”?) makes this city look completely different than our cities out east.  [EDIT – this is called Cream City Brick.  The city has been referred to as “Cream City”]  Some street scenes:

Old Building in Downtown Milwaukee

The building above seemed to be a cast iron facade, which could place it as old as say 1860.  I plan on returning soon and hopefully the scaffolding will be down so I can look for a plaque.  The building below, and it’s next door cousin to the right, seemed to be late 1800’s with a Second Empire Revival feel – almost a Frank Furness influence on the tower.  These two buildings are joined by several floors of improvised covered hallways over the conjoined alley.  I really wanted more time to look over these buildings with more detail.

Old Building in Downtown Milwaukee, WI

The building below was prominently located in the center of downtown.  Seeing the flag at the top of the bell tower, I guessed (correctly) that this was City Hall.  When back at the airport I looked the building up on Wiki; this was the tallest building in the world from its completion 1895 to 1899.  Designed by Henry C. Koch in a German Renaissance revival-style, this remained the tallest building in MKE until an office tower surpassed it in 1973.  I have to admit singing the tune to Laverne and Shirley in my head while walking around.  If I had remembered the opening sequence, this tower is briefly shown with the sign “Welcome to Milwaukee”, however since-removed.

Central Tower Building in Downtown Milwaukee

Adjacent to City Hall is the ornate German Revival Pabst Theatre.  Also from 1895, this is the fourth oldest continuously-operating theater in the US.  The German heritage in Wisconsin really shows through while walking around MKE.  I can’t wait to visit again so I have a chance to really understand the makeup of the city in the warm weather.

Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, WI

After rounding a total of 4 blocks, I headed back to the car and snapped this alley across from the “Furness Building” shown above.

Two Old Buildings with Alley in Milwaukee, WI

Being in the middle of the work day in early spring, the almost-vacant streets should not have been a surprise.  That said, there was an abundance of street parking and few pedestrians.  I would not say this section of the city looked abandoned, crumbling or neglected, but it did seem a bit lonely.  How occupied are the office suites in these magnificent buildings?

Modern Facade in Downtown Milwaukee, WI

This small 50’s Art Deco-style facade caught my eye.  How much is the rent on a nice little building like this?  On the way out, I parked again and noticed a huge amount of recent condo development in the Third Ward area, just south of my walk near city hall.

Milwaukee River with new Housing, 794 Bridge in Background

The above scene is right in the Third Ward, or just below it as it were.  I think this is the main channel of the Milwaukee river as it heads under the 794 bridge and out to lake Michigan.  [EDIT – the south side of the river is called Walker’s Point]  What is striking about this scene is how much this looks like Amsterdam!  There is so much new construction and much of it modern and fashionable.  This waterway must be very lively on a sunny Saturday afternoon in July as people are walking on the promenades and the river alive with boat traffic.  There are lovely scenes along the “canal” section of the river as well, where it snakes through the canyon of buildings.  I ran out of time, and there were construction barges all over that section anyhow so this all definitely warrants another visit in the warm weather later in the year.

After driving under a Calatrava bridge, I turned back onto the expressway and back to the airport.  My business in Wisconsin will hopefully be fruitful and I look forward to coming back many times, to spend more time in this gem of a city.

The Donnelly Building, A Spring Walk in Downtown Baltimore

Although its very busy in the office lately, I still like to get out during the day for some fresh air and inspiration.  With our “early spring” this year, there has been no shortage of temptation for sagging off on a nice afternoon.  Last week, during a walk downtown I caught a nice image of texture, light and color within the modest canyons of downtown Baltimore.  Walking about the semi-deserted small street, I snapped some pictures of this small structure, marked the Donnelly Insurance Building.

Baltimore Street Image - Sunshine Facade

This old building, with hand-painted window signage (original?) was built on the likely-border of the Great Fire of 1904 just a couple blocks away from the harbor docks.  Without knowing anything about this particular building, my guess is it was built after the fire.  A very high ceiling in the main floor (in a 3-floor scheme) makes for what must be a useful basement and very private 3rd floor.  The scale fits in well with the surrounds, mostly medium-rise early 20th century classically-inspired stone-detailed buildings.

Downtown Baltimore Office Building

In the fashion of the times, Roman buff brick, combined with a strong base and strong cornice reflect the influences of Louis Sullivan in this modest-sized building.

Strong Afternoon Light, Downtown Baltimore

The chamfered entrance is a bit heavy-handed but presents a solid image for a 1905 insurance company’s headquarters.  I changed over to B&W for this next picture, to emphasize the westerly light coming through the cracks between buildings.  The unusual pastiche to the left is an older classical-style building which apparently sold its air-rights in the 1980’s.

Street Scene, Downtown Baltimore

Overall, this small Baltimore street was very quiet for a workday afternoon.  The entire scene (and especially the building to left) reminded me of two summers ago when walking Quebec City, Quebec.  I walked a flat street near the St. Lawrence River quay which featured a collection of late 19th-century classic buildings.  I looked through my archives and, viola – below is the exact scene I had in my head.

Scene from Quebec City

Some parts of Baltimore can be quite busy during the day (the pedestrian-friendly areas, the courthouse, city hall), but many other parts of downtown lack a vibrancy.  It is a combination of many things, including a lack of street-level dining and shopping and the subsequent people moving about.  What really makes these two particular streets quiet however is the lack of vehicle traffic.  I do not miss the cars and emergency vehicle sirens at all – in fact these two particular streets had a preserved and hauntingly-beautiful urban emptiness – but without any commerce they seemed a bit lonely.

Two small commercial one-way streets frozen in time, luckily, for us to explore and remember how a growing North American city looked in 1905.  Without the bustle and noise of 1905, however, we are left with an outdoor museum of sorts.  An empty museum but one worth saving nonetheless.

Doylestown PA and the Mercer Museum

A couple of months ago I visited the George Nakashima studio in New Hope PA and blogged about it http://wp.me/p1OiAd-1r .  While in the area I also visited Doylestown and the incredible Mercer Museum.  Harry Mercer, a gentleman anthropologist, had the foresight to collect pre-industrial tools and other human-made cultural objects with the anticipation that industry would bring sweeping change and render these charming artifacts obsolete.  Completed in 1916, Mercer designed the building himself in poured-in-place concrete, with the hope of it being completely fireproof. Mercer Museum, Doylestown PA The museum is sited in the center of town, at the top of a charming dell. Mercer completed two other buildings in the area; Fonthill, his home and the Moravian Tile Works.  Sadly I did not have time to seek these buildings as well. The interior is almost cathedral-like.  Lacking heat, winter visits carry a certain charm which is appropriate to the exhibits on show.  This collection of photos – taken in the dying light of a late November afternoon – do not capture the true magic of this space.  The center hall is covered top-to-bottom with large objects including small boats, carriages, sleds, plows… Center Hall of the Mercer Museum As one walks up the small stairs on each end and crosses the central hall, your eyes are split from these main, larger exhibits on hanging in the middle, and the small galleries on the outside walls.

The vitrines are carefully composed, each with a theme such as woodworking shop, or domestic kitchen.

The vitrine display wall alternates between a glass divider and a curious, prison-like set of bars.Tool Display in Mercer Museum

Woodworking tools above, hats and other woven products below:

Handmade Amish hats from the Mercer Museum

American locksmith’s display.  Also shown was the tooling (molds, presses, dies) which the locksmith used to make the products.

Locksmith at Mercer Museum

One room was laid out as an old country store, including counters, shelves and all the product tins in a realistic manner.  Looking at the “Tiger” chewing tobacco can, I wonder if that was really made by hand?

American Country Store at the Mercer Museum

Below – detail of a horse-drawn carriage:

Carriage Detail.

The main, cathedral-like ceiling is covered with chairs and other pieces of mobile furniture.  There are thousands and thousands of objects on display and not all are close enough for inspection.

Main Ceiling of the Mercer Museum

The upper stories become intertwined, vertically and horizontally.  Odd galleries and structural anomalies abound, with odd staircases and small nooks waiting for you to explore.

Attic Stairs at the Mercer Museum

Stove and boiler decorative bodies in the attic galleries.

Upper Galleries in the Mercer Museum

Here are some examples of the tile work done at the nearby Moravian Tile Works, designed into the upper fireplaces and chimneys.

Boiler and Stove Bodies at the Mercer Museum

When you get to the top of the tower (on the side I ascended), you have the option of walking over the main hall’s ceiling and crossing over to the other side.  There is no wasted exhibit space at the Mercer!

The attic of the Mercer Museum

There is an incredible collection of old iron stoves in the main attic.  This gothic cathedral was my favorite:

Old Iron Stove at the Mercer Museum

After turning the corner at a real hangman’s derrick, I descended the other stairs to go back out and meet a long-lost friend for a coffee.  One last view of the main interior:

Another view of the main hall at the Mercer Museum

Doylestown itself is very charming.  This is the well-known, restored County Theater marquee.

County Theater in Doylestown, PA

A charming carriage house:

Doylestown, PA

And a final look back at the Mercer as the sun went down.

Mercer Museum Exterior

At the end of this trip I went through Trenton, NJ, specifically for a pizza pilgrimage to the old Italian neighborhood, Chambersburg.  I promise a future post showing my adventures up the “pizza belt” between Philly and New England as I seek out the finest, most authentic pizza in America.