The French renaissance-style house is referred to as The Cassatt Mansion, not because of Mary Cassatt, the famous impressionist artist, but instead, because of her younger brother, J. Gardner Cassatt, who built the house on Berwyn-Paoli Road in 1907. Mary’s other brother, Alexander, became president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
According to a relative, Mary Cassatt never visited her brother’s home, not even once. Many people assume it was her house or the house she grew up in. In fact, she rarely left her home in France, a country estate outside of Paris, Chateau de Beaufresne. She left her French estate to her niece and it’s now Le Moulin Vert, a group that provides horticultural education for troubled teens.
The mansion is four stories with approximately 40 rooms and was originally on 124 acres.
During WWII, the house required two railroad cars full of coal to heat.
The estate was sold in 1953 to the Norbertine Fathers who stayed until 1964 and then the YMCA bought it for a mere $210,000.
The carriage house…
The hook over one of the carriage house (and stables) windows, was used to hoist hay.
A few facts about how the Cassatt family lived:
-Bathrooms were not coed; during parties, men and women used separate bathrooms.
-The Cassatt family had a full-time cook, waitress, parlor maid, chauffer, chambermaid, nurse, nanny and a governess.
-The mansion had an elevator to move heavy logs for the fireplaces in each bedroom.
-The second floor had 8 bedrooms with bathrooms between every two.
-The family had one telephone which was answered by a servant.
A bygone era…