When people think of incredible architecture in Rhode Island, they believe in breathtakingly gorgeous locations like the Newport Mansions. Many people are unaware that there are several veritable castles throughout the state that are as stunning. While they may not compete with accurate medieval structures around Europe, they are a great destination to explore and take in massive historical views. The history of castles is long and complex. The word “castle” dates back to the twelfth century, but many people still debate what it means. Some say they are private fortresses for lords or royalty with no public services like palaces. Regardless, most scholars agree on one thing - castles have played essential roles throughout medieval Europe. Not just because their residents could claim nobility status by residing there, but also largely thanks to how effectively protective they are. On our list, we will highlight ten impressive castles to check out on Rhode Island.
10. Cliffwalk Castle - Lippett’s Castle
Lippitt’s Castle, a castle-style brick mansion, was built by Lippitt in 1899 near Bailey Beach in Newport. They tore it down after it was bought out by his son Charles Jr. to make way for The Waves. The Waves replaced this old structure created from the same bricks found within the waters where remnants of these buildings remain today.
9. Towers Castle
This Casino at Narragansett Pier is a popular tourist destination located in Narragansett town, but it was not always so. When the Towers opened in 1886 to great fanfare, an influx of visitors numbering close to 5 thousand per day, its popularity grew tremendously, mainly due to word-of-mouth recommendations by satisfied customers. Many of them couldn’t get enough of what they considered “the best view on earth.” But within 20 years after opening - despite major renovations costing hundreds upon thousands every year, the fire struck again. Today, the Towers Castle is a structure that has withstood the test of time and still stands as one of America’s most historic structures.
8. Ocean Cliff Castle
Beautiful oceanfront home with luxurious amenities, the Ocean Cliff Castle is now available for travelers seeking relaxation in an exclusive location well hidden in Newport. The historical site dates back to 1896 when it was built as a summer residence for George Matthews Hutton-a wealthy industrialist whose company manufactured bicycles and tricycles. This impressive property has been continuously enlarged over time by subsequent owners until its present form emerged during World War II due mainly to federal emergency procurement regulations that encouraged the preservation of historic properties.
7. Beachbound Castle
Beachbound Castle in Newport, is a beautiful and historic home in Rhode Island’s Newport Harbor, is now the domain of condo residents. The original owners were William Burden (1877-1909)& Florence Vanderbilt Twombly, who had two children before marriage. The children were Hamilton “Ham” Gilder Vanderbilt II & his sister Azalea Kiki Carotino Chanler. The first architect hired to work in the Castle was J. Charles Olmsted while landscape designer was Ammi Phillips Armstrong Moss.
6. Cranston Armory Castle
The Cranston Street Armory had been occupied by the National Guard over the last 80 years until 1996. Later, it housed film studios after being listed on “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.” The list compiled by The Trust For Historic Preservation with its distinctive yellow bricks and crenelated turrets makes an impression even from afar. It has 165,000 sq ft on its floor space with an impressive 90-foot high ceiling where drills were held for musketry training sessions during military history eras, like Revolutionary War or Civil War times. Cranston Armory Castle is located in Providence district.
5. Malbone Hall Castle
Malbone Hall castle, in Newport, Rhode Island, was by Alexander Jackson Davis. It’s one of the most renowned castles built during his career. The original Malbone hall was once a country estate for slave trader Col. Godfrey Malbone. They had it made around the 1750s with pink sandstone rocks from Virginia soil. The stones he used as its exterior design elements were widely used by many other prestigious mansions during this period. Social status meant everything! So much care went into what you could see outside your house because those were statements adesigned bout yourself even before anyone came up to knock on them. Malbone Castle stands out against all others due to its ornate appearance yet still maintains an air of elegant simplicity, typically only seen now.
4. Seaview Terrace Castle
Also known as the Carey Mansion, Seaview Terrace Castle is a privately owned French Renaissance Revival style chateau in Newport, Rhode Island. The house was completed in 1925 and is one of the five largest mansions left standing after construction on “The Great Mansions” that ended during World War I. It recently became home to Salve Regina University before their lease expired this year 2016 due to lack of funding from donations, which has made some residents worried about how much longer it will last. However, there’s currently talk happening now between both organizations.
3. Gray Craig Castle
In the 1920s, Mary and Michael Van Beuren commissioned New York architect Harrie T. Lindeberg to design their home in Portsmouth. The English country estate in Meriden estate was purchased from Gray Craig for a grand manor house built on an old foundation during colonial times by J Mitchell Clark Esq. He then left it behind when he retired from public life but still maintained ownership until his death.
2. Hazards Castle
Hazards Castle, a stunning estate in Newport, Rhode Island, was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt Hazard Belmont. They had an Irish/Scottish type of name back then but have since changed its spelling to “Hazard.” This beautiful building now serves as their residence and is one of the most famous racetracks named after them: The Belmont Raceway on Long Island, NY.
1. Belcourt Castle
The Belcourt Castle in Newport was built in 1887 by Richard Morris Hunt for owner Oliver H. P Belmont. The Castle is based on Louis XIII’s hunting lodge at Versailles and designed to house horses with luxury similar to what he enjoyed. The layout of this palatial stable permitted him right into its magnificent rooms. One visitor described it as “one large apartment complex serving an incidental ballroom.” The upper floors served more than just housing. They included formal parlors decorated using hunting antiques found locally during construction. The castle was built as a summer house for Henry VIII’s tenth and last wife, Italian-American socialite Marie (1880). The Castle is made of stone with 42” thick walls that were completed in 1894. It has stained glass windows dating back from 13th century Europe installed inside its large rooms. They can be seen today at their original home on display at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art (The Met) here in New York City. Three million dollars worth of renovations were done within this historic landmark near NYC Central Park.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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