What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

Gray-Taylor House

By Justin LeFurjah

The Gray-Taylor House is located at 9 Walnut Street in Brookville, PA. W.H. Gray (1841-1939) began building his house in the spring of 1882. Gray was born in Indiana County. He came to Brookville early in his life and apprenticed as a carpenter before the Civil War. In early 1861 he enlisted in Company I of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteers and was wounded twice, including once at Gettsyburg, before being discharged in October of 1864.

After his return to Brookville he took up photography and Became one of the earliest professional Photographers in the area. He also raised horses and, according to family history, he laid out the first quarter-mile racetrack in northwestern Pennsylvania. It was located at his "upper farm," now part of the Maplevale Farm holdings. In 1868, he married Mary Darling, half-sister of lumberman Paul Darling. Paul Darling died in 1881 and left the Grays a considerable amount of bank stock and inheritance valued at $30,000. Part of that inheritance was used to build a house, constructed at a cost of $10,000. Gray's business connections during these years extended to various interests, including the directorship and presidency of the Jefferson County National Bank which had been founded by Paul Darling. He also assisted in the setting up of the Brookville Cemetery and the Pennsylvania Memorial Home, which was founded in 1891 as a home for Civil War veterans, which continues today as a rest home.

Gray left his house to his daughter, Julia Eleanor Taylor, in the early 1930's, but lived there until his death, shortly before his 100th birthday, in 1939. Julia Eleanor Gray married local banker and humanitarian David Lewis Taylor (1868-1925). David L. Taylor (great-grandson W.H. Gray) and his family now live in the house.

According to the National Register nomination, the house is the French Second Empire style, with a slate Mansard roof. It is somewhat irregular in plan, although the rectangle is the prevalent construction form. It is a three-story dwelling built of unpainted red common brick, with each wall being four bricks in thickness.

The Gray-Taylor House has been in the same family since it was built, and has been owned by the same family longer than any home in Brookville. It is also individually listed on the National Register of Historic places.

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