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The Slifer House Museum collects, preserves and interprets the architectural heritage and history of the home of the Eli Slifer and Dr. Lamont Ross families, the Evangelical Home, the Evangelical Hospital, and the social and material culture of the Civil War and the Victorian Era as expressed in Central Pennyslvania.
The Slifer House Museum is a grand Victorian mansion built by Eli Slifer as a country estate for his family. With initial success as a manufacturer, Eli Slifer later achieved prominence as a politician, ultimately serving as the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the Civil War.
Designed by Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan in 1860, the Slifer house cost $8,000 to complete.
Eli lived in the house until his death in 1888, and his family continued to live there until 1908. The house was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Lamont Ross, who in turn sold it to the Evangelical Association in 1915. The Evangelicals opened it as a home for the aged. Dormitory wings were added to the building, and in 1926, the Evangelical Hospital opened. An orphanage was constructed on the property in 1921, and in time, residential apartments and cottages were constructed, as well as a skilled nursing care facility. This was the beginning of what is now known as RiverWoods Senior Living Community.
Slifer House opened to the public as a Museum in 1976. Since that time the house has been furnished with appropriate decorative arts from the Victorian era. Many family artifacts have been returned to the house from descendants and friends of the Slifer and Ross families.
The Museum relies on public contributions, membership monies and donations of appropriate furnishings to continue its dual goals of preservation and education.
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