Historic Castle Finn Mansion c.1819
Built in 1819, Castle Finn is an American Treasure and one of the original Pennsylvania Mansions. With much of its original detailing intact, this is a rare opportunity to acquire one of the most significant historic manor homes in York County Pennsylvania. Once owned by Thomas Coleman, a renowned “Iron Master” as his family estate near his forge, this extraordinary 7 bedroom stone and stucco manse has grand, spacious rooms with 12′ ceilings, deep window wells, fireplaces with wood mantels, and a gorgeous private 3 acre setting overlooking Muddy Creek. The original section with a 2 story porch, was built in 1819 and the 3 story grand side hall addition was added later in the 19th century by Coleman. Featuring the original stone & stucco ice house, a guest house with 1 bedroom, kitchen & bathroom, and fenced pastures, this is an estate of rare and beautiful distinction, close to Baltimore, Washington, DC & Philadelphia, yet a world away.
Center Hall 32′ x 9′ – Wood floor, 12′ ceiling, 8 panel doors, 12′ ceiling, staircase.
Rear Parlor 21′ x 20′ – Wood floor, 12′ ceiling, fireplace w/wood mantel, 3 bay windows with original panel trim work.
Front Parlor 20′ x 18′ – Wood floor, 12′ ceiling, , fireplace w/wood mantel, 3 bay windows with original panel trim work.
Dining Room 19′ x 16′ – Wood floor, 9′ ceiling, built in china cabinet, fireplace, chair rail, chandelier, 4 windows.
Hallway 18′ x 5′ – Wood floor, exterior entrances, stairway to second floor, door to basement under stairs.
Kitchen 19′ x 14′ – Wood floor, granite counters, cabinets, track lights, 4 windows.
Laundry Room/Powder Room 9′ x 6′ – Wood floor, built in shelves, commode, and sink, 1 window.
Guest Bedroom/Den 12′ x 10′ – Wood floor, 2 doors to outside, 1 window.
Second Floor (9’+ ceiling)
Bedroom 1 21′ x 20′ – Wood floor, closet, fireplace w/original wood mantel, 3 windows.
Bedroom 2 20′ x 18′ – Wood floor, fireplace w/wood mantel, 3 windows.
Closet Room 14′ x 8′ – Wood floor, potential bathroom, 1 window.
Landing 13′ x 9′ – Wood floor, door to porch.
Bedroom 3 18′ x 15′ – Wood floor, closet, door passage hallway and main block landing, 4 windows.
Passage Hallway 22′ x 5′ – Wood floor, 1 door to porch, doors to 2 bedrooms & bathroom.
Bedroom 4 18′ x 15′ – Wood floor, door to bathroom, door to porch, door to passage hallway, 3 windows.
Bathroom 14′ x 14′ – Wood floor, shower, claw foot bathtub, 1 closet, vintage cupboard, 2 windows.
Landing 21′ x 9′ – Wood floor, 1 window.
Bedroom 5 20′ x 16′ – Wood floors, shared large fanlight window with bedroom 6.
Bedroom 6 20′ x 16′ – Wood floors, shared large fanlight window with bedroom 5.
Kitchenette 13′ x 7′ – Refrigerator, sink, double door closet.
Living Room 14′ x 13′ – Built-in bookcase.
Bedroom 12′ x 10′ – Built-in bookcase.
Bathroom 9′ x 6′ – Linen closet, bathtub.
Original Stone & Stucco Ice House
Built in 1819, by Joseph Webb on the site of his iron forge, Castle Finn is an American Treasure and one of the original Pennsylvania Mansions. Perfectly placed on a hill over looking Muddy Creek and the site of, what was once the Palmyra Forge, this wealthy “iron master’s” home was the bustling hub of the forge community. With spacious rooms and 12′ ceilings, this extraordinary Federal style manor home was built by master craftsmen and retains much of its original and unique architectural detailing. The exterior is constructed of stone with a stucco surface etched to simulate Venetian block.
In the grand main block,there are large twin parlors with deep window wells that bathe the expansive rooms in natural light and massive, paneled connecting doors that open to create a ballroom. Two fireplaces with wood mantels, original wood floors and 12′ ceilings create an impressive space for entertaining. Above the parlors, on the second floor and accessed by the grand entry hall and staircase, are 2 equally spacious bedrooms with 9’+ ceilings, fireplaces and large, deep windows with gorgeous views of the front pasture and the private wooded landscape. A large closet off the landing may make a great bathroom conversion or an additional bedroom. Two bedrooms occupy the third floor and share a landing .
The adjoining and earlier constructed block is one room deep and includes the original Peach Bottom Slate (very rare) patio and walkway, and second story porch, with its original rail and posts that runs the length of the front side of that portion of the house. An interior second story windowed hallway has a door accessing the porch, and connects 2 bedrooms, a large bathroom, a staircase to the main level and one to the attic. On the main level is the dining room, secondary entry hall with staircase, kitchen, powder room, and guest bedroom or den.
Castle Finn Mansion was built on the site of the original Palmyra Forge, later named Castle Fin Forge. Built by Joseph Webb in 1819, this “iron master’s mansion” was later purchased, in 1826, along with the forge by Thomas Burd Coleman. Coleman was a wealthy iron master who owned several other forges, including Cromwell Forge in Lebanon, as well as, Cornwall Furnace (today, a famous PA historic site). He expanded the house with a grand 3 story main block and renamed the house and the forge, Castle Finn, after his father’s birth place in Ireland. Castle Finn remained in the Coleman family until 1863, when Coleman’s sons sold the house and forge to Joseph Longenecker. Castle Finn Mansion may have changed hands a few times before being purchased in 1906 by Donald Yost, an attorney from York. The Yost family owned the house for 50 years, selling it in 1961 to Dr. Eleanor Halman, who had plans to restore and modernize Castle Finn. Instead, it remained vacant and was vandalized, with the valuable Carrera marble mantels stolen, as well as, other vintage treasures. In 1975, the previous owners acquired Castle Finn and began its restoration, and since 2011 the current owners, being good stewards have moved the project forward. This grand dame has survived because she was built by master craftsmen who took pride in their work. She was commissioned by an “iron master” who constructed powerful forges of stone and she has been stewarded through nearly two centuries by only 9 families who understood that to change her would diminish her. Castle Finn offers the next steward the rare privilege and extraordinary opportunity to live in the past, while preserving it for the future. As if to remind future generations that this is an “iron master’s” house, Joseph Webb, embedded a huge 2 1/2′ x 6′ iron bar from his forge in the ground in front of the door to be used as the step up into the house.
This was an “iron plantation”. Surrounded by the sites and sounds associated with iron being forged – water wheels creaking, the furnace blasting, blacksmiths pounding, lumber being felled and burned into charcoal, the chatter of workers, and wagons and teamsters rolled continuously along the small road in front of the house. At its height, in 1840, 50 employees worked at Castle Finn Forge and many lived in the surrounding 15 houses built by Coleman.
Life in the mansion, however, was a bit more aristocratic. The Coleman’s likely furnished this grand home with furniture imported from England, along with china and linens. They socialized with other affluent landowners, businessmen and politicians. According to the Historical Society of York County, “this old forge estate was formerly a complete community unit, having its own ice house, smoke house, slaughter house, and so on, and that even in 1906 or 1907, when his family (the Yost family) came into possession of the property, a number of homes of the former workmen were still standing…”. Today only the ice house remains.
The village of Castle Finn grew out of the “old forge estate” and became one of the most important villages in southern York County. In 1832, it was even given a post office, which discontinued service in 1904. Today, little remains, except for Castle Finn Mansion.
Castle Finn has had less then nine owners in almost 200 years, and since 1906 only four.
Robert Coleman (father of Thomas) was born in Ireland and came to America in 1764 at the age of 16. He worked as a book-keeper, then a clerk for several “iron masters” and learned the business.
In 1773, Robert married Ann Old, the daughter of his employer and owner of several forges, James Old. In a very short time Robert owned numerous forges and financial interests in others, and prospered making canon and shot during the Revolutionary War. In fact, some believe that he may have been America’s first millionaire. His daughter, Ann and future president James Buchanan fell in love, but Ann died, before they could marry and Buchanan went on to political success, but never married and always had her picture displayed in his home. Robert Coleman died in 1825 at the age of 77.
His estate valued at over one million dollars was divided between his four sons, with the smallest share going to the youngest, Thomas Burd Coleman. Thomas married Hannah Cassett (possibly related to Mary Cassatt, American painter), improved the iron business in York and purchased Palmyra Forge in 1826, changing its name to Castle Finn. They had lived in Castle Finn mansion for only 4 years, when Hannah, in 1830, died at the age of 34. Thomas moved his family to Lancaster, where in 1836 at the age of 43, Thomas died and his children went to live with their grandmother.
Located at the end of a secluded country road in southern York County, near the Maryland line and 45 minutes to Baltimore, 1.5 hours to Philadelphia, 45 minutes to Havre de Grace & Aberdeen.
Minutes to 5,000 acres PP&L park, with water activities, hiking and Kelly’s Run Trail, and minutes to 200 acres Susquehana State Park.