Monday, July 26, 2010

A Castle in Vermont: Part One

Wilson Castle in Proctor, Vermont

The rural countryside of Vermont offers picturesque scenery; rolling hills in varying shades of green; cows munching on grass;  blue skies with clouds so fluffy they look like layers of whipped cream; and a 32 room castle.

What's that?  A castle in Vermont?  Correct. It's called Wilson Castle and it's located at the end of a walking path through the woods in Proctor, near Rutland.

Apparently, the original castle was the brainchild of Dr. John Johnson, who studied psychiatry, according to a castle tour guide, Dianne Roy.  While in Europe, he fell in love with a wealthy patient, Lady Sarah Robbins. They married, moved to Vermont, and  her money financed the construction of the sprawling castle in the late 1880s.

Unfortunately, the money ran out as well as the marriage and ownership of the castle changed several times over the decades until Col. Herbert Wilson, a radio engineer, bought it in 1938. Five generations of the Wilson family lived there,the tour guide explained. Currently, a family member, Denise Davine, a granddaughter of Col. Wilson, continues to own it but lives nearby rather than in the castle. The guide told the group Ms. Davine wants to restore the castle which is apparently on the National Registry of Historic Places.

There are 32 rooms, 13 fireplaces, and 110 acres surrounding the castle.  At one time, golden Japanese pheasants and peacocks roamed the grounds and lived in an aviary.  There must have been some fabulous parties given there, too. The castle is located way up on a hill and a sprawling lawn rolls to the edge of the road.

Here's the figure of an eagle, right outside the front of the castle:

Dianne, the tour guide, says there have been reports of an unidentified woman crying in a room on the second floor of the castle.  Would I volunteer to spend an overnight there, to check it out?  Ahhhh, no way Jose. Not on your life or mine!

Here are shots of the patio which runs along the side of the castle.  The marble and slate floor is made with a basket weave pattern.   The views are absolutely gorgeous:

This shows a radio tower built by Col. Wilson:
                                                                                                                   This chair is on the huge patio:

Unfortunately, the huge structure is in need of a lot of repair and upkeep. Still, a tour of its rooms and some elaborate and unique furnishings is a most unique and fascinating experience.

Tomorrow, we will continue the castle tour with a peek inside. You will see some of the gorgeous stained glass windows,  tiles, and intricately carved furniture!



diane stetson said...

I sure have toured a castle and slept overnight in one...this little castle looks like a dwarf next to it but my castle was in IRELAND and was built in 1100....I love historic places!

Claus said...

Beautiful! and with such a unique story! thank you for sharing! It must be a real treat to visit it, and wander through it...though not alone! I wouldn't want to come across the crying lady! :-o
I was wondering, since it's a historical place, does it get money for its maintenance? or is it just the title? It must be very expensive not only to do the repairing work, but to keep it running!

Susan said...

Hello Diane and Claus..

Thank you both so much for visiting and commenting.

Claus, being on the National Registry of Historic Places probably does entitle the castle to some money. More than likely, it's not enough. This is a huge facility. Hope they can maintain it as it's a treasure and great place to visit.

Have a super day, girls. Susan

Karen Lange said...

Good photos, thank you for sharing! I don't recall being in a castle other than one at Disney World when I was young:)
Blessings for your week,

Susan said...

I never knew there was a castle in Vermont. It is beautiful!

Chatty Crone said...

That castle is beautiful - there are not too many left in the US and I don't think there were that many to begin with.

I have toured the Biltmore Estate when it is decorated for Christmas - it's gorgeous.

I wonder why they didn't make more castles here like in Europe?


Leslie {Goodbye, house. Hello, home!} said...

Haven't toured anything but Biltmore, and I dunno if that's a castle or just a REALLY large house?
How blessed you are to have one near you---
Sigh. I would so love to go to Europe someday and visit one in Scotland or Ireland!
Thanks for the tour!

nannykim said...

Quite a beautiful place! But I am always saddened to hear about marriages that fall apart. This story reminds me of the one up in New England somewhere. I can't remember which lake, but a guy was building his wife a home on an island on one of the lakes and he never told her about it; he spent years and years working on it and she eventually died and I believe she never knew! I thought this was terrible--he spent all of this time away from her when she could have enjoyed him or enjoyed being part of it.

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