This is your chance to live like an industrial tycoon at Millard Mansion d’Annville
When it was built, it was said to be one of the most elaborate and expensive houses ever built in the entire valley of Lebanon.
The stately Millard Mansion sits at the entrance to the Pennsy Supply quarry in Annville, from which lime has been extracted in prodigious quantities since the late 1880s. The quarry was taken over by Jacob Millard at the turn of the century and is remained under the control of the descendants of this industrial family from early Lebanon which still gives its name to Millardsville in the eastern part of the county.
Construction of the mansion began in 1910. In 1911 work on the mansion was still in progress, with the Daily News reporting on the house, built by tycoon Harry Millard, “that when the structure is completed it will be the most beautiful of this section, not only in the external beauty, but in the decoration and the furnishing by the interior.
Such plush attire was only appropriate for the tycoon, who rivaled Milton Hershey for the amount of Lebanon Valley farmland he controlled, acquisitions fueled by his eponymous limestone quarries. In the rolling hills of Lebanon County, Millard reigned over Millarden, a vast farm known for its horses and cattle. The moniker still stands today on the welcoming – or perhaps warning – columns. – that of their arrival at the property.
The Millards sold the property in 1966 to a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel, which invested millions in modernizing the business, including converting the mansion into offices for quarry staff.
“For nearly a century, Millard products have contributed to the industrial might of the country,” reported the Daily News in 1972. “Millard lime helps make the steel that goes into bridges, skyscrapers, the ships, railroads and automobiles of the country.”
“In mortar form, Millard products have gone into the construction of homes and many famous structures, including the United Nations building.”
The mansion’s original interior furnishings are long gone, but after decades of use as an office space, the structure finally feels like a home again.
Earlier this year, Tom Forbes signed a 10-year lease with Pennsy Supply, the current owners of the quarry, with the intention of using the property as event space and short-term rental accommodation.
A resident of Mount Wilson for more than 30 years, Forbes sold a second home in Florida, timing the market’s peak, and invested the proceeds in the business. Although the lease was just signed this summer, Forbes was able to get a head start on its renovations and furnishing the property thanks to a handshake with Pennsy – a flyer that may have only slightly dismayed his lawyer, Annville’s Tucker Hull.
Forbes said the company had outgrown the office space offered by the mansion and was seeking reuse of the property. With a background in high-end hospitality and private events, Forbes had recently focused on construction and intended to get into the “Airbnb” business when Millarden appeared on his radar.
Forbes, which at one time owned the Coleman Chapel in Lebanon (now slated to move to Elizabethtown), said he envisions the mansion as an all-in-one destination for weddings and other events. Ceremonies could be held in a planned outdoor garden, the wedding party could stay in the house, and caterers would have access to a new industrial-scale kitchen.
He also has other events in mind, like throwing a murder mystery party. (Mr. Plum with the wrench in the library?)
Forbes meticulously transformed the mansion into a home, designing each room with a theme that draws from his personal collection of furniture, artifacts and memorabilia.
In total, more than 20 guests could be accommodated in the mansion.
Forbes is currently in the process of listing the mansion on short-term rental websites. He expects the property to be between $2,000 and $2,500 per night. For comparison, a weekend rental at the Best Western Plus Hershey can be had right now for $222 per night.
If you would like to host an event or stay at the mansion, Forbes can be contacted at (561) 545-0139.
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