Slifer House Museum is a grand Italianate mansion built by Eli Slifer before the Civil War as a country estate for his family.
With initial success as a manufacturer, Eli Slifer later achieved prominence as a politician, ultimately serving as the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the Civil War.
Eli, along with his wife Catharine and their six children, lived in the house until his death in 1888. His daughter and son-in-law continued to live there until 1908, when the house was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Lamont Ross, who in turn sold it to the Evangelical Association in 1915. Trustees of the Evangelical Association opened it as “The Home for Old People and Orphans” in 1916. An orphanage was constructed on the property in 1921, and in time, residential apartments and cottages were constructed, as well as a skilled nursing care facility—the beginning of what is now known as RiverWoods Senior Living Community. Dormitory wings were added to the mansion and in 1926, a hospital opened, later relocated and named Evangelical Community Hospital.
Slifer House opened to the public as a museum in 1976. The house was restored and furnished with appropriate artifacts from the Victorian era and Civil War period. Family heirlooms have been returned to the house from descendants and friends of the Slifer and Ross families. The museum relies on public contributions, membership monies and donations of appropriate furnishings to continue its dual goals of preservation and education.