By DYLAN MILLER
Daily News Staff Writer
With the log house demolition complete, a whole new view of the historic Gage Mansion has come to those driving and walking on Penn Street in Huntingdon Borough.
Built by Colonel F. Gage in 1896, the blueprints for the Victorian style home were drafted by architect George Barber. These blueprints are now displayed in the parlor.
From the time of the house’s construction, the east wall of the home has been hidden due to the proximity of the preexisting neighboring home. Now open, the details of the architecture have been revealed.
Owners John and Angie Thompson look forward to adding their own touches to the Gage Mansion’s rich history with the addition of an adjacent courtyard.
“We do have tentative plans for the design. We haven’t necessarily picked everything, but we have an idea on how it will flow. We originally planned to put more of a privacy screen across the front, but since the view of the front of the house from the street is so beautiful, we decided to go with the wrought iron fence. That’s the side with the stained glass windows and we really want to showcase the area,” said A. Thompson.
The stained glass windows were commissioned from local Huntingdon artist, Ann Dorris Chisolm, who had won medals in the 1883 Chicago World’s Fair for her stained glass works.
“As you start to implement things you naturally evolve and see what works best, but for now we’re sticking with creating the courtyard, gazebo and some walking gardens,” said J. Thompson.
Historically, the mansion was a favorite location for business meetings and housed the first residential telephone in Huntingdon.
The mansion is already open to hosting community events, but the opportunities will only increase with the courtyard, explained A. Thompson.
The Thompsons are actively working on the creation of the landscape.
“I’ll make out where the walking paths and flower beds will go, then I’ll start throwing grass seed everywhere there will be lawn. We’re getting estimates on the gazebo and we’ll have those by the end of the week,” said A. Thompson.
The house stayed in the Gage family until 1954 when it was auctioned off to Bob and Monica Clark. It then passed to the Treeses, both Juniata alums, in the late 1960s before passing to Glenn Gress and Ed Evans, who opened the property to the public, staging theater productions in the carriage house, conducting art classes and hosting an art museum in the house.
When Dr. Kenneth and Sara Jean Brown bought the mansion, they did extensive repairs and remodeling, turning some of the rooms into apartments during their two decades of ownership.
Ann Wishard bought the mansion in 1996 and used the carriage house for her herb business. She also rented rooms and offered tours before she retired and sold to the Thompsons, who also own of theThompson’s Candle Co.
For more information, visit www.gagemansion.com and keep your eyes on the mansion.