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Museum House Designer’s Descendant Visits Museum

On Monday, Richard Castor, a great grandson of the Castor house’s designer and original owner, visited the American Chinese Museum and told stories about his family and their relationship with the house.

The American Chinese Museum occupies the house which was designed by the famous Philadelphia architect Horace W. Caster. It was built in 1898 and was lived in by the architect until he passed away.

Castor House is one of the few surviving 19th century buildings located in Northeast Philadelphia. On March 14, 2017, it was designated as an Historical building by the Historical Commission of Philadelphia and was listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

Mr. Richard Castor told the museum that he was delighted when he learned that this historic building is used in a great way- to promote Chinese American history and culture and to help the American public better understand the contributions Chinese Americans have made to the U.S.

Founder of the museum Jason Lam and Board member Clark Lambo led the tour and showed guests the current exhibits, the artifacts housed in the museum, and the museum building itself. The tour ended on the third floor of the museum in a room dedicated to notable Philadelphians with a large section dedicated to Horace Castor.

Jason said that existence of the Castor House spans much of the history of Chinese American immigrants, and therefore the historical house is an ideal place to carry the history and culture of the Chinese American people.

Richard gifted the museum many valuable historical pictures of his family and his family’s life in the house. He also gave the museum a lot of information about his great grandfather, the architect, who also designed a church in southern part of China.

The Castor family’s roots in America can be traced back to 1736 when their ancestor Hans Gerster (changed to Castor) immigrated from Switzerland to Philadelphia.

Multiple generations of the Castor family have played an important role in Philadelphia affairs and Horace Castor, standing out as a famous architect, also contributed prominently to the life of the city of Philadelphia.

Richard visited every corner of the house and praised the museum for preserving the house which helps to preserve his memories about his family and their contributions to Philadelphia.

He also took photos with the Historical Plaque which was given by the Philadelphia Historical Commission for the care that the Museum has taken in the preservation and maintenance of the property.

A Historical Plaque may be awarded to a building, structure, or site on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in recognition of its importance to the City’s architectural, cultural, or historical value and heritage, provided that, in general, it retains its architectural and structural integrity and is well maintained.

Richard said he will look for more family historical artifacts and organize more things about his great grandfather, Horace Castor, and he will donate them to the museum to help preserve them in the future.

Along with Richard Castor, his friend Ping Lue accompanied him to visit the museum.