USDA Forest Service

Grey Towers National Historic Site


Interpretive Program Options While at Grey Towers

  1. Tour of Grey Towers: A guided tour of the mansion and gardens will introduce participants to the history of the house, the Pinchot family and how the recent renovation has enabled the Forest Service to fulfill the intent of the family to make Grey Towers a working center for natural resource conservation. Covers first floor of mansion and gardens. Allow one hour (can be shortened if needed).

  2. Tour of Grey Towers (all three floors): This tour allows for more in-depth information about the conference center, the family living space and how it was converted into meeting space to fulfill the mission of carrying forward GP’s work. Includes GP’s historic renovated bedroom. Does not include garden spaces. Allow one hour.

  3. Artifact Tour: Specialized tour focused on the artifacts in the museum spaces, especially the original Pinchot family heirlooms. Allow 45 minutes.

  4. Cemeteries Tour: A walking tour of the original town graveyard on Grey Towers property with emphasis on the ancestors buried in the Pinchot plot. A short drive to the Milford Cemetery and Pinchot mausoleum, where Gifford is buried. Allow 1 hour.

  5. Landscape Tour: A one-hour walk through the gardens that gives an in-depth description of why Cornelia chose the plants and trees that she did and how the family used the outdoor structures as additional rooms. Includes some plant and tree ID and changes seasonally. Allow 1 hour.

  6. Downtown Milford Walking Tour: The Pinchot family had a huge influence in the early years of the town, from their original homestead (now the town library) to construction of the county courthouse. Learn about how the family’s generosity and vision extends beyond Grey Towers. Half-hour to one hour, depending on where the walk goes.

  7. Waterfall Hike: Pinchot Falls, located on private property, served as inspiration to James and Gifford Pinchot as they laid the groundwork for the Yale School of Forestry and the early years of forestry in America. A hike to the site can be inspirational today as well.

  8. Gifford Pinchot and Conservation in America: A powerpoint program that follows Gifford Pinchot’s career from when he first introduced the idea of conservation to the American public with formation of the US Forest Service through his two terms as governor of Pennsylvania. Allow 45 minutes.

  9. Cornelia Pinchot:Governor’s Wife or Radical Feminist? This powerpoint program illustrates the dynamic relationship between this feminist reformer from Long Island and the forester-politician of Grey Towers, and how their work laid the foundation for an enormous impact on modern America. Ideas on feminism and conservation fostered in the Progressive Era survived and evolved far beyond World War 1 and are still shaping today’s society. Allow 45 minutes

  10. Amos Pinchot, The Rebel Prince: Powerpoint program illustrates how Gifford’s brother, who Theodore Roosevelt referred to as “the lunatic fringe,” risked alienation from his friends and family to support the civil rights and social justices that we benefit from today, including formation of the ACLU. Allow one hour.

  11. Pinchot Ancestors in NYC:Under development, this program illustrates how the Pinchot altruism dates all the way back to the early 1800s, with ancestors such as Peter Cooper (founded Cooper Union Institute) and Amos Eno (owner of the Fifth Avenue hotel). A full-day walking tour of these NYC locations can be arranged and can include side trips to Theodore Roosevelt birthplace and World Trade Center living memorial, coordinated by US Forest Service.

  12. The Greatest Good: A Forest Service Centennial Film: This breathtaking high-definition documentary takes the audience on a journey from the wise use of resources to the idea of a land ethic. The full film is two hours but each of the four parts can be shown on its own. Part 1 – The Fight for Conservation (1864-1910); Part 2 – Building the System (1911-1940); Part 3 – Boom! (1941-1970); and The Greatest Good? (1971-2005).

  13. Pinchot Family Films: These home movies provide a glimpse insidethe Pinchot family and their days at Grey Towers when it was their family home. Then you can watch Gifford and Cornelia Pinchot explore the Galapagos Islands during their “Trip to the South Seas,” a film narrated by their son Dr. Gifford Bryce Pinchot. Allow 45 minutes for the two films and interpretive discussion.

  14. Other films: Re-live President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 dedication of Grey Towers (4 minutes); and other films, including Centennial Green: The Story of the US Forest Service in Song; Gifford Bryce Pinchot: Memories of His Father; Gifford Pinchot: America’s First Forester (a re-enactment).

  15. James Pinchot: The Real Father of Conservation: Learn about the man who built Grey Towers and was a key figure in founding much of the early conservation movement in America. This history program gives a unique insight to the man who, one summer morning in 1885, asked his son Gifford, “How would you like to be a forester?” Can be delivered as a powerpoint if living history option is not available. One hour.

A Pinch Of Pinchot

(Just a snippet of information; enough to make you want more!

Allow 15-30 minutes)

1. How Would You Like To Be A Forester?: How one father dedicated his most valuable “asset” to change a nation’s thinking.

3. The Women of Grey Towers: It’s true. Behind every successful man there is a woman – or women – steering the ship. Learn about Mary, Cornelia and others.

4. “No, We Are Not the Park Service”: Find out why this unique historic home was entrusted to the Forest Service, not the National Park Service. (Hint: Gifford’s legacy.)

USDA Forest Service - Grey Towers National Historic Site
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:19:05 CST

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.