Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays through August,
John Hays Hammond,Jr., a prolific American inventor, built the castle from 1926 to 1929 to house his collection of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance artifacts. In fact, the castle was a wedding present for his wife,
"There were constant guests to the castle, from
The castle on
"Why candlelight tours? That is because Hammond chose to live and work at night," explained Pettibone on a recent tour. "
When "Ghost Hunters," a television reality show, came to the property,
Visitors on the first two of the three evening candle-light tours can continue to explore the castle when Pettibone finishes the narrated part of the tour. The narrated tour includes the Great Hall, which soars to 67-feet high, the indoor courtyard, Renaissance dining room, the library, two guest bedrooms, and inventions exhibit room. Visitors can later visit the war room, the kitchens, the Natalie Hays Hammond exhibit room, servants quarters, as well as several smaller rooms and passageways, including a secret passageway.
There is a fireplace in every room, and the indoor swimming pool holds 30,000 gallons of fresh water.
"Hammond, who was a millionaire at the age of 19, always wanted to live in a castle since he was just a boy of 10 years old," said Pettibone.
The curator told his tour how Hammond's wife had a collection of stained glass as well as other medieval objects.
"So when he married, he ended up with a collection of stained glass and his wife got a castle to put them in," said Pettibone.
Items in the castle come from a broad geographic spectrum as well as time, from a Byzantine chair to a Roman sarcophagus that dates to the second century before Christ. Pettibone pointed out one of the more recent items, the skull of a Spanish explorer, which was Hammond's favorite object.
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, through
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