15 Most Amazing Castles In America
When you think of castles, your imagination immediately time travels to the medieval period of history. When kings and queens ruled their respective lands and where protected by knights. One of the most iconic symbols of this time in history were the castles that housed royalty. Castles are all over Europe and many people feel that is where you have to go to see a real castle. That isn’t the case at all. America is home to some truly amazing castles. Some are occupied others are one the market available for someone to purchase them. Located all over the country, here are some outstanding castles located state side.
Hearst Castle California is often called the land of dreams. It is also the land of castles. The Hearst Castle is a popular piece of California real estate. The castle is perched high on a hilltop overlooking the Californian town of San Simeon. The estate was built between 1919 and 1947 for newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Hearst nicknamed the estate ‘La Cuesta Encantada’ which is Spanish for ‘The Enchanted Hill.’ Enchanting is an understatement, Hearst Castle comprised of four buildings, 165 rooms and 127 acres of beautiful terraced gardens.
Biltmore Estate Most people would not think to go to Ashville, North Carolina to see a castle, but there is one that anyone interested in architecture should see. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Biltmore Estate. The construction of the Biltmore Estate, began in 1889 after George Vanderbilt visited the area and became enchanted by its beauty. Six years later the construction was complete. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, Biltmore Estate is a French Renaissance chateau with 250 rooms.
Boldt Castle They say you can find whatever you’re looking for in New York. That includes a castle. Boldt Castle is tucked away on a tiny isle in upstate New York’s Thousand Islands region. Hotel magnate George C. Boldt began building his Rhineland-inspired castle in 1900. It was meant to be a summer home for him and his beloved wife Louise. Sadly, Louise died months before Boldt Castle was completed and a devastated George abruptly halted its construction. For 70 year the remained unoccupied and subject to the elements. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired it and restored the castle to its current glory. Boldt Castle includes 120 rooms, its own drawbridge and the notable Alster Tower.
The Breakers If you don’t know anything about the Vanderbilt family, you should at least know they are filthy rich. The Breakers is another castle that the Vanderbilt’s created. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, The Breakers is one of Newport’s most beautiful summer homes built in the late 19th century. During the time of construction, Newport was a Rhode Island coastal town serving as the playground of America’s wealthiest families. Taking inspiration from the Italian Renaissance palaces, Hunt designed the castle to have 70 rooms and the grand Dining Room.
Bishop’s Palace Bishop’s Palace, which is also known as Gresham’s House, is located in Galveston, Texas, in the East End Historic District. It was built in the late 19th century for attorney and entrepreneur Colonel Walter Gresham and his family. The building is frequently cited by architectural historians as one of the USA’s most significant structures. Bishop’s Palace was built using steel and stone, which is why the place endured the Great Storm of 1900 that destroyed much of Galveston.
Bannerman Castle Two castles in New York seems far fetched , but it’s true. On a tiny island approximately 60 miles up the Hudson River from New York City is the Bannerman Castle or whatever is left of it. It was built in the early 20th century by Scottish-American munitions merchant Francis Bannerman not as a home but as an arsenal. The castle was designed to resemble the medieval fortresses of Bannerman’s birthplace. After his death in 1918, Bannerman’s Castle fell into disrepair and much of the structure was destroyed by a fire that broke out in 1969. Today the island is overseen by Bannerman Castle Trust who offer summertime island tours and host events including barbecue picnics and concerts.
Castello di Amorosa Located in the northern reaches of California’s wine country Napa Valley, the beautiful Castello di Amorosa can be deceiving. At first glance it looks like a 13th century castle straight out of Tuscany, but it was actually constructed over a 14-year period and officially opened its doors in 2007. The castle was designed by owner and fourth generation winemaker Dario Sattui as a winery. Castello di Amorosa is surrounded by acres of vineyards producing award-winning Italian-style wines. It features 107 rooms, most of which are used for wine making. Castello di Amorosa includes a working drawbridge, a great hall with replica Italian frescoes and even its own dungeon and torture chamber.
Fonthill Castle Fonthill Castle is the the former home of archaeologist and ceramicist Henry Chapman Mercer. It was constructed between 1908 and 1912 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania as a means of showcasing Mercer’s extensive collection of tiles and prints. Henry Chapman Mercer designed the castle himself. He was influenced by Medieval, Gothic and Byzantine styles. Fonthill Castle is comprised of 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces and over 200 windows and was donated by Mercer as a museum following his death in 1930.
Iolani Palace Iolani Palace is Hawaii’s official royal residence. It was built in 1882 in downtown Honolulu by King Kalakaua as a means of strengthening the then Kingdom of Hawaii’s prestige as a modern nation overseas. When the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893, Iolani Palace served as the capitol building until it underwent extensive renovation and reopened as a museum in 1978. Iolani Palace is said to be the sole example of ‘American Florentine’, a mixture of Italian Renaissance and native Hawaiian architectural styles.
Lyndhurst Mansion It’s hard to believe New York is known for its skyscrapers and bad traffic, when it there are castles there. Lyndhurst Mansion is located in on the edge of the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York. The Lyndhurst Mansion is the creation of acclaimed architect Alexander Jackson Davis who built it in 1838. Lyndhurst is said to be one of the finest Gothic Revival mansions in the nation. It has had several noteworthy residents since its construction including New York City mayor William Paulding and railroad tycoon Jay Gould.
Thornewood Castle Thornewood Castle has an interesting story. Though it was built just over 100 years ago, Thornewood Castle is actually much older. Chester Thorne, a local prominent banker and developer, dreamed of building a Tudor Gothic home. He did, a 400 year old English manor. The only problem was he wanted it to be in Lakewood, Washington. Thorne had it painstakingly dismantled, transported and reconstructed with the help of architect Kirtland Kelsey Cutter. Thornewood Castle is now an inn. Guests at Thornewood Castle have access to the estate’s private dock and lakeside beach and the beautiful sunken ‘Secret Garden.’
Hammond Castle Inspired by his time living in England as a child where he fell in love with its castles, American inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. built the beautiful Hammond Castle between 1926 and 1929. It overlooks Massachusetts’ scenic Gloucester Harbor and severed as Hammond’s home and laboratory. Hammond Castle is now a museum, free for visitors to tour its enchanting rooms like the beautiful inner courtyard, partly made from medieval storefronts Hammond found on a trip to France.
Martin Castle Martin Castle is located in Versailles, Kentucky. It is part of a 50 acre estate. Also known as The Castle Post, it’s construction began in 1969 by the original owners Rex Martin and his wife Caroline Bogaert Martin. He designed the castle after being inspired by a trip to Germany. In 1975 Rex and Caroline divorced and left the castle incomplete. The castle stayed vacant until 2003 when Thomas R. Post, a wealthy lawyer, purchased it. The castle’s construction was complete in 2008. It operates as an inn, but is on the market for a staggering $26.5 million.
Oak Brook Oak Brook is a community in Illinois that is known for it’s over-the-top homes, but the castle that sits there takes the cake. The building was unfinished and brought by a builder in 2007 for $875,000. It only has five bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, two half baths, 12 skylights, 40 ft ceilings, a four car garage and it sits on an acre of land. If you are interested in owning a castle it is on sale for $4.5 million.
Crowley Castle Crowley Castle is the movie star of all the castles on this list. That’s because it was the location for a few films such as, a 1916 version of Romeo and Juliet and the 1969 film “The April Fools” . The castle was built between 1914 and 1917 for a wealthy merchant Timothy Crowley. The tallest part of the castle is a five story square tower. There are many terraces and balconies for people to enjoy the outdoors. The castle is currently a private residence and is not available for tours.