Do you have a question about Castles in America? As the online home of American Castles, Castlesy has the answer.
Below, we've answered the most common questions that people have asked but if you have a question which isn't featured here, please let us know and we'll do our best to answer it. We might even add it to this page!
HELLO!! You’re on the American Castles website. The home of all things castle (and chateau) in the USA and Canada. Thanks for visiting by the way, you must love castles just like we do.
Well, yes and no. There aren’t any ‘real’ castles in the sense of a defensive medieval compound built 500 to 1,000 years ago, which most people would regard as a castle (and which most kids would probably come up with if they were asked to draw one). Historic sites such as Hovenweep National Monument have structures such as Hovenweep Castle and other seemingly fortified structures which may have been used for defensive purposes but the definitive use is unclear.
Let’s not forget though that those pesky Europeans also built many ‘castles’ in Europe since medieval times which are called castles but which in fact are castellated or castle-style properties and therefore would also not meet the original purpose and definition of a castle.
These newer European ‘castles’, just like American castles, were built to impress, as vanity projects or follies (and for various other non-defensive reasons) – mainly by wealthy people who wanted to live in a ‘castle’.
There are many wonderful replica castles in America to visit, stay in, rent and get married in so unless you’re planning on defending your family from the barbarians at the gate, you don’t need to worry too much about how ‘real’ the castle is.
It might depend on what you classify as a castle. Hovenweep Castle in Utah and Colorado was likely built between AD 1200 and 1300 however its originally intended purpose is uncertain. A completely different property which would be more readily recognizable as an early American castle is Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th Century stronghold in Florida. Around the same time (more specifically 1665), the property now known as Bacon’s Castle was constructed. It gained its name when Nathaniel Bacon’s men used the property for four months during an uprising. So yes, it has ‘castle’ in its name and it was used for defensive purposes however we think most people wouldn’t really classify it as a castle.
Another question without a straightforward answer. If you include American chateaux in this category, then it would have to be Biltmore House. This 250-room renaissance-style chateau covers a whopping 250,000 sq ft together with a pretty impressive land-holding of 8,000 acres. If you’re simply looking for the largest medieval style castle in the US, then the hugely impressive Castello di Amorosa (121,000 sq ft across 107 rooms) is the likely winner.
Don’t all castle have ghosts we hear you say? Certainly many castles have tales of ghostly sightings and unexplained happenings although some castles definitely seem to be more associated with being haunted than others. Castle Mont Rouge in North Carolina, Hearthstone Castle in Connecticut, Beta Castle in Maryland and Wyckoff Castle, New York all have their own ghostly stories. As with many haunted castles and properties, the stories are usually linked to the untimely or grizzly death of one or more people associated with the castle including the owner, the owner’s wife, the owner’s heir, the builder of the castle etc.
Yes, people are still building castles in America. The romantic notion of life as a castle owner in the U.S. has not diminished (and may even have increased) over the years. As has been the case throughout the history of the castle in America, some of these new castles remain faithful to their medieval origins whilst others are more reminiscent of a gothic style castle or renaissance style chateau. We even know of one company in the U.S. who specialise in building castles (yes, we hope to publish an interview with them soon). Maybe there are others too. If your company builds castles or chateaux in America, let us know.
As a realistic representation of a medieval, European castle we think Castello di Amorosa in California is pretty hard to beat. Externally it looks like a very well kept Italian castle and internally, although it is a winery with commercial requirements to fulfil, there are many areas which are relatively faithful to its Italian origins. The owner/creator of this particular castle has previously documented his commitment to building an authentic castle.