|Location||639 Terrace Street,
|Architectural style||Greek Revival|
|Governing body||Crawford County Historical Society|
|NRHP Reference #||74001777|
|Added to NRHP||December 30, 1974|
|Designated PHMC||April 14, 1947|
The Baldwin–Reynolds House is a historical site on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located in Meadville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania. It was built as a retirement home by Supreme Court Justice and congressman Henry Baldwin. It was later owned by William Reynolds, hence the name "Baldwin-Reynolds House". The house is now owned by the Crawford County Historical Society and is run as a museum, with tours of the house available during the summer months and special events throughout the year.
As Henry Baldwin got older, he decided to move his family to Meadville for retirement. He chose Meadville because they had friends there, and it was the place of his early law career. When visiting his son in Tennessee, he was struck by a house known as "Hunter Hill". He decided to model his retirement home after this house. He drew the plans for Hunter Hill, and returned to Meadville where, in 1842, he and his wife settled on this 24.5 acres (9.9 ha) property and began building the house.
The property chosen was once owned by Samuel Lord, a veteran of the American Revolution. Lord lost the property in a sheriff sale in 1838. The property was bought by the family of Henry's wife Sarah 'Sally' Baldwin (née Ellicott), and then sold to Henry.
The Baldwins began building the house in 1842, and it was ready to live in by the late summer of 1843. It was considered the quintessential southern home in northern Pennsylvania and was called the "Mount Vernon of Meadville" by the local newspaper (in 1938). However, Henry Baldwin died suddenly at the Merchants Hotel while serving on the Circuit Court in Philadelphia on April 21, 1844, before the house was complete.
The Baldwin Institute
After Henry's death, Sally Baldwin did not want to continue living in the home. In 1844, she leased the property to the Meadville Female Seminary, who used it as a girls' finishing school. Subjects taught included all the basic subjects, plus French and botany in the gardens. Less than three years later, the school could no longer afford to be located in the house, and so turned it back over to Sally Baldwin in 1847.
Sally Baldwin then sold the original 24.5 acres (9.9 ha) plus an additional 38 acres (15 ha) to her nephew, William Reynolds. Reynolds was a graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, and a successful attorney in Pittsburgh. The same year, he moved his wife, Julia, and daughter, Frances, to Meadville and quickly became active in the community. For a time he was the president of the Meadville Gas and Water Company, and the house was the first house in the community to have natural gas lighting. Reynolds was also a founder, and first president, of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. He was the last burgess and first mayor of Meadville.
Reynolds and his wife spent much time remodeling the house from its original southern, plantation style to a more Victorian decor and architecture. Originally, much of the woodwork in the house was pine. Much of this was replaced with black walnut and parquet floors. Fireplaces, a solarium, and a library were added.
20th Century and Beyond
Upon the deaths of William and Julia Reynolds, the house and property were left to their youngest son, John Earle Reynolds. Later that year, John married Katherine Shryock. Several artifacts from their honeymoon to Europe and Asia, including the Belgian wallpaper in the dining room. John Earle Reynolds eventually became a three-term mayor of Meadville, and Chairman and President of Merchant's Bank of Meadville. Katherine was an active member of the American Red Cross and a founding member of the Meadville Garden Club.
John died in 1947, and Katherine continued living in the house until her death in 1963. In her will, the house was to be put up for public sale. The house was bought by the Crawford County Historical Society and preserved as a museum. In 1974, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The house is still today preserved as a museum, with many of the original furnishings from Henry Baldwin recovered and replaced in the house, as well as other artifacts of significance to Meadville, and Crawford County. Tours are given often by members of the Historical society.
- "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- Crawford County Historical Society page for Baldwin-Reynolds House
- "PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
- Smith, Janet C (1974). "Baldwin–Reynolds House Museum" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum Website
- "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes Significant Sites Advisory Committee of Crawford County (undated). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Dr. J. R. Mosier Office" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-18.