‘Kimball Castle’ – Gilford NH
It was in 1897 that Benjamin Kimball, President of the Concord & Montreal Railroad and the Kimball and Wright Wheel Mfg. Company of Concord hired an architect to built his castle on Locke’s Hill overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford. In the early 1920s, Samuel L. Powers of Boston wrote the following of Benjamin Kimball:
“Many years ago Mr. Kimball made his first trip up the Rhine River in Germany. As he sat upon the steamer’s deck, viewing the vine-clad slopes on either side of the river, he finally came into view of the castles built by the Barons of the Middle Ages. It was then that the thought came to him that he would like to build a castle similar to those, upon the promontory which he owned on the southern bank of Lake Winnipesaukee; so he made a landing, secured an architect, and arranged with him to make plans for a castle, which stands today some seven hundred feet above the lake on the brow of Locke’s Hill.
It is a remarkable view, seven hundred feet below were the sparkling waters of Winnipesaukee, dotted with its hundreds of islands, each rich with summer verdure extending to the very water’s edge.
Farther to the north were the silvery waters of Lake Asquam, hedged in by the Sandwich Dome. Still farther to the north, the Presidential Range–Mount Washington in bold relief piercing the fleecy clouds Farther to the west, Lafayette, Lincoln, and Moosilauke, and still farther to the west the mountains of Vermont. To the east, beyond Ossipee, where the mountains on the westerly line of Maine, and to the south, Belknap and Gunstock, as though keeping guard over the castle.
The castle was built entirely of top stones, which were quarried in Concord and brought to Laconia by train. From there, they were transported up the hill by horse and oxen teams, as were the fieldstone and granite obtained in back of the Locke’s Hill.
This castle had many similarities of a fort, commencing with its overall appearance and the heavy oak front door, with wrought-iron window grating, hinges, and lion’s head door knocker. All the exquisite oak woodwork was made in London and shipped to Boston view freight and reassembled inside the castle. All wrought-iron fixtures, at which the Germans excel, were custom-made in Germany.
When Mrs. Kimball passed away in 1960, the estate was willed to the Alvord Wild Life Sanctuary of Bear Island. It was felt that if the public wished the castle and its 250-acre park of flowers and shrubs restored and preserved for their society, the society was the most likely to inherit this fine property the proper restoration.
After being abandoned for several years, the inevitable finally happened–vandalism. What could be carried was stolen; windows were broken, wrought-iron that wasn’t too heavy, removed; stacks of very rare green bulls-eye glass replacements from the windows, smashed.
Today’s generations remember, affectionately, the bygone years of what it must have really been like to enjoy the lake in the elegance of a castle such as Kimball.
Voters decided not to commit money to restore the castle. The town eventually convinced the Attorney General to remove the stipulation preventing commercial use of the property and subdivided the land, creating ski and hiking trails on a portion of the acreage. Sadly, the walls have been claimed by vandals and the stunning architecture is falling into devastating disrepair. We may never see Kimball Castle restored to its full glory and the vision of Benjamin Ames Kimball.
Spend your day at our estate, “Castle In The Clouds” touring the architecture, strolling through the beautiful gardens, examining local artists’ work and dine at our magnificent restaurant overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.
In the heart of New Hampshire, on the southern slope of the Ossipee Mountains, lies a magnificent estate of 6,300 acres, extending from the summit of the mountains to the north shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, and bordering the Lake for a mile and a half. The estate is composed of hundreds of acres of meadow views.
Brooke Walk Trail –
As Shannon brook tumbles over a jagged cliff, it creates this dazzling cascade that is as mesmerizing to hear! This Brooke walk and the waterfall views are a highlight at the castle. There are waterfalls right on the estate and some are just a very short walk that anyone can enjoy.
Owned and operated by Castle Preservation Society since 2006, Lucknow is now open to the public for guests to enjoy. Witness in awe, the beauty of the views, while taking in the magnificent features Plant had installed in his home. Enjoy a self-guided tour as if time stood still in the early 1900s. Rooms are set up as if Tom and Olive had just stepped out for the day, and vintage apparel adorns the house in closets. Experience life through the eyes of the Plants, image yourself living in the mansion with spectacular views from every room.
So many have been intrigued by this castle on Sleepers Island on Lake Winnipesaukee Alton NH. Beautiful stonework and elegance. It is said that it was built in 1911 and built by the same people that built Castle In The Clouds.
In 1894 Littlefield sold it to William and Edward Hale. In 1904 Edward Hale sold his interest entirely to William Hale.
In 1911 William built the castle after having been to Europe and seeing castles along the Rhine. The craftsman who built the castle were the same as those who built Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough. At that time the castle was called Hale’s Castle. It is thought Mr. Hale lived on the island full time. In addition to the castle, he had a barn which housed horses in the lower lever and servants on the top level.
In addition to the horses, the barn also contained a low mileage 1930 Victoria Coupe, driven across the ice one winter. The rear wheel was removed to run a pulley which in turn ran a sawmill. There is a cemetery on the island in which William Hale’s first wife, their housekeeper and William Hale himself are buried. In May of 1939, June Hale, Williams second wife and now widow, sold the property, including rights to a boathouse.
Long and short, the castle was sold to Scott E. Mercer in 1984. Since the Mercers have owned the property it has been restored as it had gotten rather run down over the years. Most refer to the Castle these days as Sleeper’s Castle and may she stand for another 100+ years!