history

13 Real-Life Castles Hiding Throughout The United States

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.
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    As Americans, it is easy to assume that we wouldn’t be able to find many, if any, looming castles taking up space on our lands. We got rid of any lingering royalty back in the Revolutionary War, so it would make sense that we would be lacking those homes traditionally constructed for kings and queens.

    Obviously, there are the exceptions that reside in Disneyland and Disney World, but you don’t have to pay a visit to Cinderella to see some truly majestic structures that can be found all across the country.

    While, for the most part, they seem to be clustered up on the East Coast, you can still find some pretty impressive examples sprinkled throughout the middle of the country and the West Coast, too. I had no idea these glimpses into our own distant history were hiding right under our noses!

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    1. Singer Castle

    Formerly known as the “Dark Island Castle,” this castle borders Canada near Chippewa Bay in upstate New York. It was originally owned by Frederick Gilbert Bourne, president of the Singer Corporation, which was famous for their sewing machines.

    Michael Jackson attempted to purchase the home at one point, but was turned down by the owners.

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    2. Berkeley Castle

    This quaint castle is located in Berkeley Springs, WV, and was built for Colonel Samuel Taylor Suit, whose family enjoyed vacations to the area. Unfortunately, construction wasn’t totally complete before his death in 1888.

    It is currently privately owned but occasionally rented out for special events.

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    3. Piggott's Castle

    Designed in a Romanesque Revival style, this beautiful abode is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the only castle found southwest of Portland, OR.

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    4. Castello di Amorosa

    Located in the Napa Valley area of northern California, this gorgeous castle is even more stunning when you step inside. It also features a winery named after the original owner’s great-grandmother, V. Sattui, who had her own winery in San Francisco after emigrating from Italy in 1885.

    Laws in the area don’t allow for it to be rented for weddings or receptions, but it is available for corporate gatherings and fundraisers.

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    5. Fonthill Castle

    Archeologist and tile-maker Henry Chapman Mercer built this home for himself in Doylestown, PA, between 1908 and 1912. It features 44 rooms, over 200 windows, 18 fireplaces, and 10 bathrooms, and is an early example of poured-in-place concrete.

    Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with the Mercer Museum located nearby.

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    6. Biltmore Estate

    At at 178,926 square feet, this is the largest private home in the entire United States and is owned by members of the Vanderbilt family, formerly the most wealthy individuals in the country during the Gilded Age.

    This impressive chateau was built from 1889-1895 in Asheville, NC.

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    7. Bannerman Castle

    In 1900, Francis Bannerman VI purchased the entire Pollepel Island on the Hudson River in New York to store weapons and ammunition for his surplus military equipment business. Clearly visible from land, he advertised with a large print, saying, “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal.”

    Today, it’s mostly in ruins after a fire in 1969 gutted the interior, but the remaining walls can still be seen.

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    8. Druim Moir Castle

    Situated in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, the castle was constructed from 1885–1886 for prominent businessman and freight manager of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Henry H. Houston. It boasts 30 rooms.

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    9. Hearst Castle

    Located along the central coast of California, this opulent abode was built between 1919 and 1947 for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who named it “La Cuesta Encantada” or “the Enchanted Hill.”

    Sadly, he only got to appreciate the elegant home for a few years before his death in 1951. It has since been adapted as a California State Park.

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    10. Kimberly Crest House And Gardens

    Originally built for one of the earliest pioneers of the Redlands of southern California, it was purchased in 1905 by John Alfred Kimberly, a co-founder of the Kimberly-Clark paper company.

    The Kimberly-Shirk Association, founded by John’s daughter before her death, continues to maintain the grounds and provides tours to the public.

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    11. Grey Towers

    Originally designed and constructed for William Welsh Harrison, co-owner of the Franklin Sugar Refinery, in 1893, it is now owned by Arcadia University outside of Philadelphia, PA, where it is used as both an administration building and housing for students.

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    12. Nichols Hall

    When Kansas State University found itself in dire need of a gymnasium in the early 1900s, university president E. R. Nichols aggressively lobbied for the funds for that project, as well as a livestock pavilion.

    Construction was finalized in 1911, and the building was named after the retired Nichols. It has been rebuilt following two separate fires and is now home to the communication, dance, theater, and computing sciences departments.

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    13. Smithsonian Castle

    Construction on the original Smithsonian Institute Building took place between 1847 and 1855, and was built using Seneca red sandstone from the nearby Seneca Quarry in Montgomery County, MA. They nicknamed it “The Castle,” and today, it houses the administration offices and information center.

    Did we miss any castles that can be found in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

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