Frank Furness - Brooke Mansion Architect
Daring, outrageous, even wild - adjectives not ordinarily applied to a Victorian architect - describe Philadelphia native Frank Furness. But then Furness was no ordinary Victorian architect. In the 1870s, he developed a uniquely personal architectural style that elicited gasps of horror and disbelief from public and press alike. Even in this century (before Victorian styles returned to fashionable acceptance), many regarded his work as the ugliest from an "Age of Ugliness."

Fortunately, Furness's place in history is secure. Today he is admired for the power and strength of his expressive designs and hailed as one of the most inventive architects of his period. He was certainly among the most influential. When Furness began his architectural career in 1859, Philadelphia was a staid and sober Quaker city, comfortable in its old traditions. Half a century later, he left a metropolis on the forefront of architectural excellence. Whether the critics liked it or not, Furness's work was popular with the emerging business and railroad elite who wanted energetic, avant-garde architecture to provide a public identity for their growing enterprises, as well as striking new homes to stand as testament to their personal wealth and importance.

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