Inside Lynnewood Hall, The Abandoned $256M Titanic Tragedy Mansion


House Beautiful has always been fascinated with abandoned houses, and we think we’ve found the most extravagant one yet: a $256 million-plus mansion in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, with ties to the Titanic.

Leland Kent is an enthusiast when it comes to “abandoned, historic, or off-the-beaten-path places throughout the Southeast” of the United States, and this specific house, known as Lynnewood Hall, is no different. Kent has an Instagram account and blog under the name Abandoned Southeast.

“This place has been on my radar and bucket list for quite some time because I am obsessed with old buildings and historic houses,” Kent tells House Beautiful. “I’ve had this place on my radar and wish list for a while now.”

In order to see Lynnewood Hall for himself, Kent traveled to Philadelphia early this year. He went there and explored the entire estate over the course of two days. “I spent several weeks learning about the extraordinary past of the land after I got back to my house,” he recalls. The Widener family, the original occupants of the house, “had a pretty intriguing history, and it’s rather sad,” the author remarks.

Kent is alluding to the terrible outcomes in the lives of George and Harry Widener, the proprietor of Lynnewood Hall’s son and grandson, respectively. The brothers George and Harry went to France in search of a French chef to work at their brand-new hotel, the Ritz Carlton. On their way back to Lynnewood Hall from France, however, George and Harry both perished on the Titanic. Built between the years of 1898 and 1900, the home is estimated to have cost about $8 million to build.

Kent claims that this estate from the Gilded Era has been owned by a Korean church since 1996. Inside the building is the church. Sadly, as the phrase states, “they could not afford to maintain the property, so they quietly vacated Lynnewood Hall several years ago.” The property’s taxes alone are worth “far over $100,000 each year,” therefore according to Kent, the head of the Korean church, Dr. Richard Yoon, “fought against the local municipality regarding the property’s tax-exempt status.”

The church ultimately made the decision to put the home up for sale because it would take a significant sum of money to restore this stately estate to its former splendor. All of the offers were significantly more than the church was requesting for the land, yet they were all rejected without even trying. These days, Lynnewood Hall remains a privately held, vacant property that cannot be purchased.

We sincerely hope that Lynnewood Hall will someday regain its former grandeur, even though it is unclear what will happen to it in the interim.


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