It’s strange to think about American castles, since most of the action, cultural movements and wars were based on European personalities and ideas. However, there are such impressive properties that remain standing today, for nothing else than to inspire and remind US citizens of their history and legacy. Here are 8 such stunning architectural examples.
8. Boldt Castle, Thousand Islands, N.Y
Perched on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in New York’s Thousand Islands region, Boldt Castle is one of the most extravagant Gilded Age mansions in the country. Built by millionaire George C. Boldt for his wife, the castle boasts 120 rooms, many of which are open to the public. You would easily get lost in there.
7. Belvedere Castle, New York
Right in the center of Manhattan, the Belvedere Castle is located in the heart of Central Park. Built in 1865 as a novelty lookout point in the park, the castle now houses National Weather Service offices, but visitors can still enjoy the views from its upper floors.
6. ‘Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii
‘Iolani Palace is located in Honolulu, where the beautiful Florentine-style palace served as the home of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs, making it the only official state residence of royalty in the United States. Visitors can tour the throne room and private quarters to get an indea of what life was like for Hawaii’s kings and queens.
5. Thornewood Castle, Lakewood, Wash.
In 1907, founder of the Port of Tacoma Chester Thorne purchased a rather over-the-top gift for his bride Anna, a centuries-old Elizabethan manor. He had it dismantled and shipped over from England as building, just before transforming it into Thornewood Castle. Nowadays, it houses an inn, where travelers can live like royalty, at least for a night.
4. Hearst Castle, San Simeon, Calif.
California’s Hearst Castle is the realization of William Randolph Hearst’s dream of creating “La Cuesta Encantada,” or “The Enchanted Hill.” This 165-room estate was completed in 1947 and features beautiful gardens, terraces, pools and walkways, as well as a collection of some 25,000 artifacts. Incredible!
3. Biltmore Estate, Asheville, N.C.
While the grand Biltmore Estate never donned the name “castle,” the former mansion of George Washington Vanderbilt is the largest privately owned home in the nation. Boasting 250 rooms, this place is so big that it even has its own winery, not ot mention manicured gardens.
2. Cinderella Castle, Orlando, Fla.
Every little girl who dreams of being a princess. While this particular American castle is no more than a Disney-made theme park attraction, it has its roots in reality, as it was styled with elements of real-life European castles, like Fontainebleau and Versailles. I guess kids don’t really care about that.
1. Smithsonian Castle, Washington
The Smithsonian Castle, home of the Smithsonian Information Center and administrative headquarters, was built in 1885 from predominantly red sandstone. The building was originally the home of the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, Joseph Henry, and is the oldest building on the National Mall.