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Castles and Palaces in America: Surprising Architectural Wonders

The Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C.

Europe is often associated with castles and palaces. However, it seems that there are also some truly remarkable ones in the United States. Indeed, one may not come across authentic medieval castles.

But there are numerous historically significant and visually stunning structures that are certainly worth exploring. Believe it or not, the United States is actually home to a number of palaces and castles that bear a striking resemblance to something out of a fairy tale!

Smithsonian Castle, Washington, D.C.

This castle was constructed in 1855 using red sandstone, giving it a Norman-style appearance. This location was both the workplace and residence of Joseph Henry, the inaugural Secretary of the Smithsonian. Today, the Smithsonian Institute’s visitor center is located here.

Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Hammond Castle Museum, Gloucester, MA, USA

The English-inspired castle was constructed in 1926 under the direction of John Hays Hammond, an accomplished inventor and scientist. He kept his collection of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance artifacts stored inside.

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

This magnificent estate, nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, stands as a testament to the grandeur of the 19th century. Built by the visionary George Vanderbilt, it proudly holds the title of America’s largest privately-owned residence. Biltmore Estate is a remarkable destination that offers a wide range of attractions, including stunning gardens, a winery, and an extensive library. It is a must-visit historic house museum and tourist hotspot.

Castello di Amorosa – Calistoga, California

Although it may appear to have been constructed in medieval Tuscany, this structure was actually designed by Dario Sattui and finished in 2007. Located in the beautiful Napa Valley, Castello di Amorosa is widely recognized for its exceptional winemaking.

Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga, California

The castle boasts an impressive 107 rooms, with the majority dedicated to the art of winemaking. Not only will you have the opportunity to savor exquisite wines, but you’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in the castle’s rich history, exploring its medieval dungeon and crossing its impressive drawbridge.

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

Hearst Castle exterior. Front of the Casa Grande from terrace with sculpture. San Simeon, California.

The renowned newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, built the magnificent Hearst Castle. Constructed in 1947, “The Enchanted Hill” features four buildings and a grand total of 165 rooms.

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

The outdoor Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle is truly remarkable. Additionally, there is an impressive indoor Roman Pool, along with a wide array of artwork and exquisite artifacts to admire.

Gillette Castle, East Haddam, Connecticut

This castle, with its medieval-inspired design, features stunning stonework and intricate woodwork. It offers breathtaking views overlooking the Connecticut River. The idea for this project came from actor William Gillette, and the building was finished in 1919.

Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii

Iolani Palace, constructed in 1882 by King Kalakaua, serves as the official royal residence of Hawaii. The palace represents a unique blend of Italian Renaissance and Hawaiian architecture, showcasing the American Florentine style.

Bishop Castle, Rye, Colorado

In 1969, Jim Bishop constructed Bishop Castle by himself. The incredible craftsmanship makes this place well worth a visit, which is entirely free of charge.

Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown, New York

Lyndhurst, the Gothic Revival home of railroad giant Jay Gould, sits near the banks of the Hudson River in Tarrytown, NY

Architect Alexander Jackson Davis created this Gothic-style home, which was constructed in 1838. Since 1965, Lyndhurst Mansion has been accessible to the public as a museum.

The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island

Completed in 1895, it was the old summer home of the Vanderbilt family. It has 70 rooms and was modeled by Italian architecture from the 16th century.

Loveland Castle, Loveland, Ohio

Boy Scout troop commander and World War I veteran Harry Andrews constructed Loveland Castle. Starting in 1927, the construction process took more than 50 years to finish.

Belvedere Castle, New York City, New York

This 1857 folly can be found in Central Park, in the center of the city. This location feels really unique, with the skyline of Manhattan in the background.

Bannerman Castle, Pollepel Island, New York

Frank Bannerman, a Scottish immigrant, constructed Bannerman Castle in 1901 on an uninhabited island in the Hudson River, drawing inspiration from Scottish medieval fortifications. Bannerman using it as a storage facility for his military supplies business. A large portion of the castle was destroyed in 1920 when tons of shells detonated.

Bishop’s Palace, Galveston, Texas

Nicholas Clayton, an architect, built this four-story building in 1892 for a wealthy lawyer. Gresham House is another name for Bishop’s Palace.

Boldt Castle, Alexandria, New York

Hotel tycoon George C. Boldt started work on this Heart Island castle in 1900. Bolt’s wife received the castle as a gift, but he never completed it because she passed away a few years later. Heart Island was acquired by Thousand Island Bridge Authority in 1977, at which point the castle was built.

Grey Towers Castle, Glenside, Pennsylvania

American industrialist and sugar tycoon William Welsh Harrison lived in this 19th-century palace. Currently, Grey Towers Castle is a component of the campus of Arcadia University.

Joslyn Castle, Omaha, Nebraska

Joslyn Castle in Omaha Nebraska

Architect John McDonald created the Scottish Baronial design for Joslyn Castle, which was constructed in 1903. George and Sarah Joslyn were business owners, and that was their house.

Thornewood Castle, Lakewood, Washington

One of the Port of Tacoma’s founders, Chester Thorne, transported every brick from his English mansion to Lakewood so he could construct a castle for his spouse. One term for Thornewood Castle is “the house that love built.”

Marble House, Newport, Rhode Island

Completed in 1892, this home of the Gilded Age was modeled after the Petit Trianon château at Versailles. The owners were William Kissam and Alva Vanderbilt.

Marble House, Newport, Rhode Island

The name is derived from its impressive 500,000 cubic feet of marble. Wow, it looks absolutely stunning!

Singer Castle, Chippewa Bay, New York

With previous names like “The Towers” and “Dark Island Castle,” this castle on Dark Island has a lengthy history. It was built in the 20th century. The property features a total of 28 rooms, a wide array of fascinating artifacts, and even some hidden passageways!

Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

After Fonthill Castle was finished in 1912, Henry Chapman Mercer, an archaeologist and tile manufacturer, moved into it. Ceramic tiles created by hand adorn every room in the building.

Kentucky Castle, Versailles, Kentucky

This castle is extremely magnificent, situated amid the blue hills of Kentucky. It was constructed in 1969 and is currently a hotel.

Curwood Castle, Owosso, Michigan

Author James Oliver Curwood constructed Curwood Castle in 1922 near to his house on the banks of the Shiawassee River. The castle, which was modeled like a Norman French chateau, is now a museum.

Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough, New Hampshire

Tom Plant, a shoe manufacturing tycoon, built this historic mansion in 1913, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that it became widely known.

Montezuma Castle, Camp Verde, Arizona

Montezuma Castle National Monument, which was founded in 1906 atop a cliff in Camp Verde, Arizona, is a singular illustration of Native American culture. It safeguards a group of houses that the pre-Columbian Sinagua people constructed and occupied between 1100 and 1425.

Ha Ha Tonka Castle ruins, Camdenton, Missouri

Situated within the picturesque Ha Ha Tonka State Park, these captivating ruins are remnants of a magnificent castle that was constructed between the years 1905 and 1922. A businessman from Kansas City named Robert Snyder built the castle.

Victoria Beach Castle, Laguna Beach, California

Is it possible to find a castle on a beach in Southern California? Yeah, kind of. This tower, also referred to as “Pirate’s Castle,” was constructed in 1926, nestled into the side of a cliff. It’s definitely worth a visit, regardless!


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