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A Look at Medieval Castles in America

Will Kalif

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Castle Building reached a feverish peak all throughout Europe around the fifteenth Century. This was of course quite a while before the Pilgrims made their way across the Atlantic Ocean and you would think this means the United States missed the whole castle building frenzy. But it didn't. There are quite a few amazing and beautiful medieval castles peppered all across North America.

During a period of time from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century much of the world went through a period of time, in terms of architecture, called the Gothic Revival. This revival was a renewed interest in the architecture and styling of buildings during the Middle Ages. The focus was on the late period castles that were more of a manor home than a fortress.

This period of time also matched a period of very high prosperity in the United States and there were many wealthy individuals and organizations that built castles fashioned in this Gothic Revival style. Technically, very few of these buildings can be called true castles because they weren't built with defense and armament in mind; They were more designed as manor houses but they still incorporated all of the wonderful and impressive architectural style that we come to associate with true castles. Many of them remain to this day and have found unique ways to continue to flourish. Some are museums, some are bed and breakfasts, some are wineries, and others are still living quarters. Here is a short list of some of these beautiful structures.

New England, being the oldest part of the country, was also one of the richest during the gothic revival and there are many impressive castles peppered throughout the New England states. The most famous of all of the locations is Newport Rhode Island where Belcourt Castle, The Breakers, and Ochre Court can be found. Belcourt Castle is a legitimate castle and The Breakers and Ochre Court are mansions. These buildings are a testament to the wealth generated by early twentieth century manufacturing. Nearby Massachusetts also has its share and one of the most notable is Herreshoff Castle in Marblehead. It was built in the early twentieth century and is fashioned after a castle built by the famous Viking Lief Erickson and it is now a bed and breakfast. Also of note in Massachusetts is Hammond Castle, which is located in Gloucester. The inventor John Hammond built it in the early twentieth century and it is now a museum.

As we move away from New England and west across the country we find many more castles that were built near large industrial cities where their builders usually made their riches. One of the most remarkable of these is Boldt Castle located on Heart Island in New York. The builder was the proprietor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Another noted castle is one in Michigan called Curwood Castle. James Oliver Curwood who was a very famous writer of adventure stories built it. Grey Towers Castle was built by two brothers in the sugar refinery business and is located in a suburb of Philadelphia. It is a National historic Landmark and is currently open to tours and is quite a large and magnificent structure. Henderson Castle located in Kalamazoo Michigan is another spectacular structure that is also now a bed and breakfast.

As we travel across the continent we come finally to California which was a mecca for money, power, and castle building. There are many structures that are still being used today and notable of these is Castello Di Amorosa, which is a working winery.

We end our look at some of the castles in America at one of the most famous, and most opulent. This is Hearst Castle located in San Simeon California. It was built by the media mogul William Randolph Hearst and epitomized the power and money of early twentieth century politics and Hollywood. It is open to the public and is something that every medieval enthusiast should see.

When we think of medieval castles images of mountain top structures in England and Germany come to mind but America has also built its share of these magnificent structures. There are literally hundreds, and many of them are still in use today as bed and breakfasts or museums. So if you want to see a medieval castle but don't have the money to travel to Europe there are probably some beautiful options right in your home state.

If you are interested in learning more about medieval subjects, weapons, and castles visit the authors website at: Medieval Castles

Will Kalif is the author of two epic fantasy novels and is an avid fan of all things fantasy and medieval. For a regular dose of these subjects visit his blog at: Heroic Dreams - Never Give A Sword to A Man Who Can't Dance


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