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Frank Furness’ Brooke Mansion on the market

Frank Furness’ Brooke Mansion, which he designed in 1888 for his friend, Edward Brooke II, is on the market for $1.99 million.

Frank Furness' Brooke Mansion, which he designed in 1888 for his friend, Edward Brooke II, is on the market for $1.99 million.

The world-renowned architect built the 42-room home in Berks County for Brooke, an industrialist, and his wife Anne Louise Clingan. The couple lived there until Brooke's death in the 1940s.

The famous home in Birdsboro is more than 13,000 square feet, has 19 bedrooms and 11 baths. Furness, who was known for his eclectic and muscular buildings, designed the home with elaborate metalwork, intricately carved staircases and high ceilings.

"The whole place is a very beautiful place," said listing agent Art Sprunger of Bold Realty. "In the library, all of the woods are exotic woods. There's a lot of uniqueness [in the home] because it was designed specifically for very important industrialists at the time."

The current owners, Peter and Marcy Xenias, purchased the mansion in 1994 for just $325,000 after it had gone into foreclosure. Sprunger said the couple is the fourth owner of the famous home, and most recently used the space as a bed and breakfast. The home was also used as a private nursing home from the 1940s until the 1970s, Sprunger added.

The Xeniases first listed the mansion in 2007 for $2.5 million. It has been on and off the market ever since, and was most recently listed for sale on July 13. The home is being sold as either a commerical or residential property.

"The economy was part of the reason [it's been on and off the market]," Sprunger said," and it's just at the point in time that the owners are interested in making sure it gets sold right now for someone who appreciates the history and uniqueness of the mansion."

Other standout features in the three-story mansion include 10 fireplaces that were carved in Europe, a large foyer with a grand staircase, and stained glass. Sprunger said the current owners have put more than $1 million in the property.

"The owners have taken care of it for the past 20 years very carefully and maintained it well," Sprunger said. "It's got its age but it has a lot of beauty and character."

Furness designed more than 600 buildings, most of which are in the Philadelphia region. Some of his other surviving buildings are the Fisher Fine Arts Library at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

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