Grey Towers was the home of Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the US Forest Service and Pennsylvania Governor for two terms. Grey Towers was completed in 1886 by Gifford's father, James Pinchot, a wealthy wallpaper merchant. Civic minded and a supporter of the arts, James and his wife, Mary, connected themselves with many influential people, among them Richard Morris Hunt, a leading architect of the era. Hunt designed their summer home to utilize both local materials and reflect the French heritage of the Pinchot family, who first settled in Milford in 1818. For two decades the Pinchots and their children enjoyed numerous summers at Grey Towers, entertaining guests for afternoon teas and dinner parties. Here James, disturbed by destructive logging practices then prevalent in the country, encouraged his eldest son, Gifford Pinchot, to consider a career in forestry.
In 1963, Gifford Bryce Pinchot, son of Gifford and Cornelia, donated Grey Towers and 102 acres to the US Forest Service, the federal agency founded by his father and which now administers the site. The US Forest Service works with numerous partners to carry on the Pinchot legacy by delivering public programs, interpretive tours and conservation education programs. Today, conferences and seminars at the estate bring together a diversity of leading conservation and environmental thinkers to help guide the future of natural resource conservation.