While these castles can weather storms, are they recession proof? Unfortunately, they are struggling to find buyers just like most other high-end homes and, according to Erin Diaz of Beaches & Backroads Realty, people are missing the boat. "I think we forget that people were on the ocean a century ago, hand-building these castles with these incredible details. These structures can withstand salt water, hurricanes and Mother Nature much better than other wooden structures. And there's a misconception that castles are dark and dingy, but these properties are gorgeous and they're mostly re-done."
Although modern-day castles are still being built, suburbia-style, we chose the 10 below due to their age and historic significance. These are not fortified with moats, or men dumping boiling oil from above, but they were all built around the start of the 20th century by those who were captured by the grandeur of dramatic fortress-like structures so prevalent centuries ago.
Searles Hopkins Castle389 Main St, Great Barrington, MA 01230For Sale - $11 million
Now, that’s a castle! Known as the Searles Hopkins Castle, this 1888 French Chateau-style stone castle was commissioned in 1889 by Mary Hopkins, who was the widow of Mark Hopkins, founder of the Central Pacific Railroad. Several years after her husband’s death, she continued to build the castle, hiring designer Edward Searles who was 22 years her junior. As the castle’s name implies, the pair eventually married. Castle highlights include a Louis XIV drawing room with details in gold leaf and original painted ceiling, acoustically engineered music room with 42-ft dome ceiling, and large stone terraces overlooking a dramatic cross-shaped reflecting pond and gardens. The property consists of 61 acres with over a thousand feet of frontage on the Housatonic River. Located in the Berkshire Mountains, Great Barrington real estate is considered accessible and desirable to urbanites in New York City and Boston since it’s only two and a half hours away from each city.
Hazard Castle333 Ocean Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882For Sale – $5,950,000
Complete with gables, turrets, and even a 105-foot tower, the Hazard Castle (circa 1882) is a Gothic Revival castle situated on almost a 33 acres on the Rhode Island Sound, just across Ocean Road. According to the Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts Division, businessman “Joseph Peace Hazard (1807-1892) built this medieval-style structure on his Seaside Farm in Narragansett Pier,” supposedly because he saw potential for the area as a popular resort. Hazard’s history also revealed he had spiritual beliefs and in a dream, a druid came to him and told him to build a Gothic-style castle. Now owned by the Diocese of Providence, the castle has been for sale since May 2009, starting with a $7 million price tag. Adjacent to Hazard Castle is a 21,000- sq ft retreat center with a full cafeteria, meeting space, and chapel.
Hartlands Castle12 Billow Rd, Old Saybrook, CT 06475For Sale – $4,632,000
Sitting along the Connecticut shoreline, the red-tile roof of “Hartlands” Castle has been a beacon for boaters on Long Island Sound since 1908 when it was built as a summer home for George Watson Beach, a Connecticut politician. The historic castle was constructed of field and beach stone and features 15,000-sq ft of living space, 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, and an in-law apartment. Notable guests of the waterfront property include Howard Hughes, the Rockefellers, Ethel Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, and Frank Sinatra. The home has been extensively renovated and offers ocean views from every room. The Hartlands Castle comes in at the top end of Old Saybrook real estate, where Old Saybrook median home values are $321,400.
Norumbega Castle63 High St, Camden, ME 04843For Sale - $2,475,000
Historic Norumbega Castle is a coastal landmark in Maine, and sits on over 3.95 acres of landscaped grounds overlooking Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. Joseph Stearns, whose fortune was realized through his invention of the duplex telegraphy system, had the castle built in 1886. Stearns traveled widely throughout Europe and became fascinated with the region’s castles and upon his return to Maine, hired famous New York architect, Arthur Bates Jennings to design his Queen Anne-style home. Following Stearns’ death in 1895, Norumbega had several subsequent owners including a cousin and former Assistant Secretary of State Hodding Carter III. In 1984, Norumbega was converted into a bed and breakfast. Norumbega Castle is at the top end of Camden real estate where Camden’s median home value is $359,000.
Thurlow Terrace10 Thurlow Terrace, Albany, NY 12203For Sale — $1,300,000
Built in 1895, this hulking stone fortress across from Albany’s Washington Park has some interesting touches and a little ghostly action: it contains a turret room, a chapel, and covered carriage roof. Rounded door closets, carved mantlepieces with hidden doors, and geometric-patterned wooden floors unique to each room also provide distinctive architectural detail to the property.
But, it apparently has an occupant; a ghost has taken up residence in the third-floor turret, according to the Albany Times Union. The home sat vacant for 13 years (1939 to 1952) and locals called it the “haunted castle.” There’s also another interesting twist to the history of this home: It was built by Charles LaDow, who was a wealthy inventor of agricultural machinery. He is also credited with creating puffed cereals by shooting thousands of rice pellets from a shotgun in the basement. LaDow died 11 years after moving in, leaving his family penniless. This home is at the top end of Albany real estate, where Albany home values are now $169,900.