New Hampshire’s Castles

For a fairly small state, we sure have our fill of castles

there is New Castle, Castle in the Clouds, Searle’s Castle, Kimball’s Castle, Wentworth Castle, Anam Cara Castle, Beauvais Castle, J.B. Hunt Castle, and Hale’s Castle just to name the most well-known….

NEW CASTLE
New Castle is a town, not a building, but as it’s probably the most recognized ‘castle’ in

Old postcard of Hotel Wentworth in New Castle, New Hampshire

Old postcard of Hotel Wentworth in New Castle, New Hampshire

New Hampshire, so it is included here.   Fort William and Mary was fortified here in 1623, and it was the site of one of the first ‘acts’ of the American Revolution. Originally the “Hotel Wentworth, New Castle’s “Castle of a Resort,” Wentworth By The Sea, is located here–the location of the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth which ended the Russo-Japanese War.

CASTLE IN THE CLOUDS
Location: Moultonboro NH
Notes: Originally called “Lucknow,” this castle was built in 1913-1914 by Thomas Gustave Plant and his wife Olive. The architecture is an unusual example of Arts and Crafts architecture, and was probably designed by J. Williams Beal & Sons of Boston, architects. Born in Bath, Maine, in 1859, son of Anthony & Sophia (Roderick) Plant, Thomas Gustav Plant worked his way from being an ice cutter on the Kennebec River to a shoe industry mogul. The castle is made of five-sided granite blocks quarried from the mountainside where it was built. It took an estimated 1,000 workers, including stone cutters from Italy, about three years to complete the 16-room castle. Plant’s best friend and frequent visitor was Theodore Roosevelt (26th President of the United States). An octagonal bedroom with bath was set aside for him. The castle’s funding, bad investments Plant made in foreign markets (Russian War bonds) and the Depression consumed his fortune and left him penniless at his death in 1941. He died a pauper in Laconia General Hospital. J. Paul Sticht, former chief executive officer of RJR Nabisco, purchased the property in 1991. Taking advantage of the castle’s pristine water source, he began marketing Castle Springs bottled water. In 2003 the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, a non-profit organization, purchased the 5,500 acre Castle in the Clouds property. The castle is managed and operated by the Castle Preservation Society, a non-profit subsidiary of LRCT. The castle is open for tours and events [see their web site immediately below].
Official Web site
New Insights into “Castle In the Clouds” by the Moultonboro Historical Society
A Photo Tour of Castle in the Clouds

SEARLE’S CASTLE
Location: Windham NH
Completed in 1915, it was built by Edward Francis Searles in the style of Stanton Harcourt Manor in Oxon County, England. It has 20 rooms, and the estimated cost was $1,250,000. Mr. Searles employed the finest masons and woodworkers, and imported marble and artifacts from Europe to furnish it. He was born 4 July 1841 in Methuen MA, son of Jesse Gould & Sarah (Littlefield) Searles. At age 13 he worked in a cotton mill to support his widowed mother and his brother. He followed several careers including teaching piano and organ, and interior decorating. He married 8 Nov 1887 in New York City to Mary Frances (Sherwood) Hopkins, widow of Mark Hopkins, who had been part-owner in the Southern Pacific Railroad, and who had died leaving his widow 21 million dollars. At his death, Searles willed the castle to his secretary, Arthur T. Walker. After a series of owners, the Sisters of Mercy acquired the castle in 1952. Beginning in 1991 the interior of the castle was refurbished.
Official Web site of Searles Castle
Photographs

- KIMBALL CASTLE aka THE BROADS -
Location: Gilford NH
Built in 1897 to replicate an ancient European castle located on the Rhine River in Germany. The castle sits atop Locke’s Hill. It was constructed by 19th century businessman Benjamin Ames Kimball. “The Broads” is a beautiful scenic estate area where Benjamin Kimball made a special railroad to from Laconia for his own personal use. There is also the Kimball Wildlife Forest nearby.

Benjamin Ames Kimball, son of Benjamin & Ruth (Ames) Kimball, was b.  22 Aug 1833 in Boscawen, Merrimack Co NH. He m. 19 Jan 1861 to Myra Tilton Elliott, dau of Ira & Rhoda (Ames) Elliott. He graduated from Chandler Scientific School at Dartmouth NH in 1854. He was a successful mechanic, manufacturer and businessman. He resided mainly in the Concord NH area.
Notes: Architectural Style: Shingle Style, built 1894; on National Register of Historic Places
Official Web site:
Biography of Benjamin A. Kimball:

Wentworth castle- WENTWORTH CASTLE – 
Location: Jackson NH
In 1891 General Marshall C. Wentworth and wife Georgia built this 5,385 square foot, three store stone castle with the help of New York architect, William Bates. Reportedly Gen. Wentworth (son of William Henry Harrison & Mary Wentworth) was a direct descendant of Sir Thomas Wentworth, first Earl of Stafford and prime minister to King Charles I. The castle has 6 bedrooms, 7 fireplaces, and the stones were taken from Wildcat River.

Boston Globe, January 9, 1916
“Wentworth Hall, Wentworth Castle and the farm of 1000 acres at Jackson NH, the property of the late Gen. Marshall C. Wentworth, have been sold to a Massachsetts Corporation, the Wentworth Hall Company. Edward S. Goulston is president, and the directors are Mr. Goulston, James N. Berry and Charles R. Jeffers. Mr. Berry has been manager of the property for the past 18 years and will continue in that capacity. He also holds a financial interest in the property.”

It was renovated in 1959 by the Countess Mara de Bninska, who purchased and restored it to its original status. The current property is bordered on three sides by the White Mountain National Forest. David Arata purchased it in 1982 and Don and Carol Jackson purchased it in 1989. In June of 2007 Wentworth Castle was under new ownership and was being rented out to interested parties.[and they are calling New Hampshire a ‘kingdom’]. It continues today in private ownership and hosts functions such as weddings.

History of Jackson NH [mentions the Wentworths]

ANAM CARA CASTLE -
Location: Barrington, New Hampshire
Possibly the youngest castle in New Hampshire, it was built in 1996 by David O’Connor and Loretta Salazar, a recreation of a 10th/11th century castle keep.
Web Site
Additional photographs

- BEAUVAIS CASTLE aka LITTLE RED DOLLHOUSE -
Location: 141 Union Street Manchester, New Hampshire
This is a faux castle front built over a structure.  This business has been open for several years, selling dolls, doll houses, and Christmas decorations during the holiday season.  They are in the process of selling their inventory, as part of a “retirement sale.” [update: possibly this is sold by now.  Web site no longer operative].

HUNT CASTLE
Rindge NH
Reportedly a faux front on a regular structure; owned by John Bankson Hunt, a NH State Representative [more on this Hunt family will be published in a future post]
-John B. Hunt’s web site (archived version)-
Originally reported at: http://www.dupontcastle.com/castles/nh_unk3.htm –

- HALE’S CASTLE -
Location: Sleeper’s Island, Lake Winnipesaukee NH
On the Lake Winnipesaukee Graystone Castle of Hale estate fame; Reportedly in 1960’s B&B “Castlewood.” If anyone knows more about this castle, please post :)

- RICE MOUNTAIN CASTLE -
Location: Mountain Lane, Walpole, New Hampshire
Built in 1979 by Peter Van Dyk Berg and his wife Teddy, the house is comprised of the Dudley Friedman House, the Norman Tower, Peak House, Tudor Tower, and the Howland Barn. In 2014 it is up for sale.

- RINDGE CASTLE -
Location: Rindge, New Hampshire
[See Video of aerial property]

- YANKEE SIEGE TREBUCHET -
Location: Greenfield, New Hampshire
Okay, okay, so its really a target rather than a liveable castle, but still …. you can rent it!

The newest of the New Hampshire ‘castles,’ this lovely structure was built in 1995.  The web site states: “The Castle is in the middle of the woods, and very private. The 500 acres includes an old farm, miles of trails and 18 PDGA pole hole disc(frisbee) golf course. The 50+ acre waterway is fed by several brooks and we provide a private beach for the castle, with chairs, kayaks, paddle boats, life preservers and beach toys. The beach is located directly in front of the home. The other beach is strictly for the residents only. Please use your designated beach. We also provide $15 per golfer discount coupons to the highly acclaimed Shattuck Golf course in Jaffrey, NH located 15 minutes from the castle.”

Janice

OTHER CASTLE LINKS:
Castles of the United States

[Editor’s Note: article updated January 2014]

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2 Responses to New Hampshire’s Castles

  1. Shannon says:

    Hale’s castle was built in 1911 by William Hale when his family owned the entire island. Rumor has it he kept dogs on the island to keep people away, there are still rail road nails in the yard from when they built the house in the winter. The basement is insulated with news papers from the early 1900’s and are still leigible. Hale’s wife soon died and he and his maid were left on the island until she too died. She is said to still haunt the house to this day and is partially blamed by one of the owners for his reason to sell. It was a bed and breakfast in the 1960’s with a boat-el next door. A sandwich shop was set up in the “Sunroom” and it hosted many families alike. It is a charismatic place where my family currently resides and restored. Yes, we have seen the ghost and she is welcomed to hang around. There is a lot of history in this old home and has faithfully stood with my family for over the past 20+ years.

    • Kathi Hopper says:

      Hi Shannon, I am trying to do some research on the Hale castle and wondered if you would be able to speak with me. Sounds like a super fascinating place! I live in the Lakes Region.

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