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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Carlisle in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Duncan-Stiles House

Walking Tour Stop 6

 
 
Duncan-Stiles House Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
1. Duncan-Stiles House Marker
Inscription. This grand three-story Federal-style house “was by far the most expensive private house ever built in Carlisle,” wrote James Hamilton, Jr. in the 1870s. It was planned and built, c. 1811, by Judge Thomas Duncan's wife as a dwelling for her son Stephen and his bride Miss Margaretta Stiles.

Marble stairs and a delicate iron railing lead up to the front door. Fluted pillars and a vaulted ceiling in the entry set off the curving staircase that leads to the third floor. Two large parlors occupy the first floor; the rear parlor is an oval with curved doors and windows. A Robert Welford mantel that stood in one of the parlors is now in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sadly, Stephen Duncan's bride died less than three years after their marriage. Mr. Duncan moved to Philadelphia and sold the house to his brother-in-law, attorney Benjamin Stiles.

Stiles sold the house in 1840 to Rev. J.V.E. Thorn, an eccentric minister, and his equally eccentric wife Susan Hamilton, daughter of Judge James Hamilton. Mrs. Thorn often said that one of her expressed ambitions was “to see the devil just long enough to get his daguerreotype.” The Thorns were childless, and when Mrs. Thorn died in 1867 she bequeathed her fortune to religious and educational institutions.

Photographs courtesy of
Duncan-Stiles House and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
2. Duncan-Stiles House and Marker
the Cumberland County Historical Society.
 
Erected by Historic Carlisle, Inc.
 
Location. 40° 12.07′ N, 77° 11.216′ W. Marker is in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in Cumberland County. Marker is at the intersection of High Street (Pennsylvania Route 74) and Bedford Street, on the right when traveling east on High Street. Click for map. Marker and house are at the southwest corner of the intersection. Marker is in this post office area: Carlisle PA 17013, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Prison (within shouting distance of this marker); Gen. William Irvine (within shouting distance of this marker); Carlisle Jail (within shouting distance of this marker); Gen. John Armstrong (within shouting distance of this marker); World War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); John Bannister Gibson (within shouting distance of this marker); Frederick Douglass in Carlisle (within shouting distance of this marker); Episcopal Square (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Carlisle.
 
Categories. Charity & Public WorkNotable Buildings
 
Duncan-Stiles House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 7, 2010
3. Duncan-Stiles House Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 844 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   3. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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