11 Beautiful Famous Castles in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is a state rich with history of all kinds including castles. Some of the wealthiest people in Massachusetts history built these famous beautiful castles as well as some cities in Massachusetts which built castles for a variety of reasons. Most of theses eleven castles are open to the public for at least parts of the year. Some of the castles in Massachusetts are restaurants and bed and breakfast hotels while others are located on college campuses and one even serves as a dorm for students. A few of the castles are also monuments and located in public parks.
Park Plaza Castle in Boston
The Park Plaza Castle in Boston, Massachusetts is really the Armory of the First Corps of Cadets located at 97-105 Arlington Street and 130 Columbus Ave. The armory was built in 1891 and eventually ended up in the hands of the Park Plaza Hotel which is located across the street. Today the Park Plaza Castle or Boston Armory is home to the Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse restaurant and the upper floors are used for events, weddings and banquets.
Bancroft Tower Castle in Worcester
The Bancroft Tower Castle is located on Bancroft Tower Road in Salisbury Park in Worcester, Massachusetts. The castle tower was built in 1900 by Stephen Salisbury III to honor George Bancroft who was born at the site in 1800 and went on to become the Secretary of the United States Navy and founded the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1845. Bancroft Tower is 56 feet high and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Boston University Castle
The Boston University Castle is located on Bay Street Road on the Boston University Campus in Boston, Massachusetts. The castle was built from 1904-1915 by William Lindsey who made his fortune with a patented cartridge belt used by the British Army. Lindsey's eldest daughter Leslie was married in the castle but she and her husband were killed while honeymooning aboard the Lusitania when it was sunk by a German submarine torpedo on May 7, 1915. The castle was donated to Boston University in 1939 and today is the landmark Boston University Castle which is used by the school for concerts and receptions and is also rented out for special events and occasions. There is a school pub in the basement and scenes from the 2008 movie 21 were filmed at the BU Castle.
Hammond Castle in Gloucester
Hammond Castle is located right above the Atlantic coastline at 80 Hesperus Avenue in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The castle was built in 1926-1929 by John Hays Hammond Jr who was an inventor with over 400 patents who was mentored by both Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. Hammond's father was very wealthy having amassed a great fortune running the African mines of Cecil Rhodes. Hammond Castle served as Hammond Jr's home and laboratory and today is open to the public as the Hammond Castle Museum containing not just Hammond Jr's inventions but also his extensive collections of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance artifacts.
Herreshoff Castle in Marblehead
Herreshoff Castle in located at 2 Crocker Park in Marblehead, Massachusetts, The castle was originally known as Castle Brattahlid as artist Waldo Ballard and his wife built the castle in the 1920's with the idea of re-creating Eric the Red's castle at the Viking settlement of Brattahlid in Greenland. The Ballard's sold the castle to L. Francis Herreshoff in 1945 and the name changed from Castle Brattahlid to Hershoff Castle. Today Hershoff Castle is run as a bed and breakfast hotel in Marblehead.
Searles Castle in Great Barrington
Searles Castle is located right in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. It was built by Mary Hopkins the widow of millionaire railroad tycoon Mark Hopkins and while the castle was being built back in the early 1890's Mary married the interior designer of the castle Edward Francis Searles who was some 20 years younger than she. Since that time Searles Castle has served as a private girls school, storage area, conference center and most recently home of the John Dewey Academy for troubled teens. At times Searles Castle has been and probably will continue to be open to the public for special occasions and was listed for sale in 2007 for $15 million with no buyers.
Usen Castle at Brandeis University
Usen Castle is located on Peripheral Road on the Brandeis University campus in Waltham, Massachusetts which is just west of Boston. Usen Castle was built in the late 1920's when the college was known as Middlesex College. Today the castle serves as a dorm for 120 students.
State Armory Castle in Fall River
The State Armory Castle or Bank Street Armory is located on the corner of Bank and Durfee Streets in Fall River, Massachusetts. It was built in 1897 by the city of Fall River who still owns the State Armory Castle or Bank Street Armory which is used today to house veterans and civil defense offices as well as a site for community recreation programs.
Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill
Winnekenni Castle is located at 347 Kenoza Avenue in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Winnekenni Castle was built by Dr. James R. Nichols in 1875 as a summer home for his family. The castle was sold to the city of Haverhill in 1895 and today is a public park where Winnekenni Castle is home to concerts, plays, workshops, craft fairs, fundraisers and even yearly Halloween parties.
Prospect Hill Castle in Somerville
Prospect Hill Castle is located atop Prospect Hill in the city park of the same name in Somerville, Massachusetts. Really more a monument than a castle the structure was dedicated in 1903 and claims to be the spot where the United States flag was first raised in 1775. The Prospect Hill Castle has an observatory open to the public.
Searles Castle in Methuen
In addition to the Searles Castle in Great Barrington there is another Searles Castle also known as the Edward Searles Estate located in Methuen, Massachusetts. Edward Francis Searles married Mary Hopkins the fabulously wealthy widow of railroad tycoon Mark Hopkins in 1887. After Mary passed away in 1891 Searles used her fortune to build another castle in Methuen which was his estate until he died in 1920. Searles Castle in Methuen today is home to the Presentation of Mary Academy high school and once or twice a year they do open this castle to tours for the public.
Cover picture: Wikimedia / public domain