When a Castle Isn’t a Castle…When It’s William Gillette’s Fortress

When a Castle Isn’t a Castle…When It’s William Gillette’s Fortress

William Gillette’s Castle is Actually a Fortress

William Gillette's castle is more interesting on the inside than it is on the outside.
William Gillette’s castle in Connecticut is actually a replica of a German fortress from a movie William Gillette starred in.

When is a castle not a castle? When William Gillette built it. He was a famous actor who also played Sherlock Holmes. The “castle” design is actually a Norman fortress, Robert The Devil, part of a movie William Gillette starred in.

After purchasing 115 acres, first seen by William Gillette from the Connecticut River, he started construction on the castle in 1914. William also bought local field stone from area farmers who dug the stuff out of their fields. They probably thought Gillette crazy for wanting to pay for something they considered a nuisance. They probably would have paid him to take the field stone off of their hands. Little did they know the unique home ended up as a tourist attraction. So, William finished the castle in 1919 at the cost of $1 million, quite a sum for that day.

William Gillette’s Castle is a One-of-a-Kind Design

He designed one room to mimic the sitting room at 221 B Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes’ residence in London. And the bar actually locks. So, William  gave his guests a chance on unlocking the bar. The park still furnishes the castle today as William Gillette furnished it from 1919 until his death in 1937.

Inside and out the castle shows the meticulous care William Gillette put into the layout and design. And the well-kept gardens and grounds are beautiful. Hand-hewn Southern White Oak woodwork remains within the castle. There are 47 doors and not one of them is the same.

Go check out this castle that isn’t really a castle. It is at 67 River Road in East Haddam, Connecticut. It also lies atop a summit of hills known as the Seven Sisters. Go ahead and call it a castle… everyone, even the state park carries the name of Gillette Castle State Park.


Trease L Carpenter

Trease is a freelance writer, who hangs her hat in Kingsport, TN. Her writing niche covers local events, food and travel-related articles. Travel, lifestyle and community show the story. If you want rich content with the real story, Trease is your writer/storyteller/photographer. Check out her other Southern Fried blogs. Trease also wrote the Thursday edition of the "Across the Fence" column for the Kingsport Times-News from May 10, 2010 - August 28, 2015. She is big on local tourism and anything related to travel... including all things local like the food, eateries, shops and events. So, go for the local historic flavoring, along with the varied lodging and the picture-perfect scenery . Trease also writes on writing... wordsmith crafting on another blog. Southern Fried Travel, Southern Fried tlc and the Southern Fried Scribe blogs showcase Trease's writing. So head on over and check out all the cool stuff.
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