Gillette Castle is a hundred year old castle perched on the top of a hill on the bank of the Connecticut River. It is a very peculiar castle and it looks like no other castle! Mr Gillette was a very peculiar man and his castle shows the fact!
He made his fortune portraying Sherlock Holmes in the theatre and had a very long career doing so. Toured around the country giving his shows. And he was the first real Holmes. He even wrote to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle asking for permission.
The Castle has a lot of peculiarities including the overall shape of it and the way the local stones were piled up and used in the construction. And it seems that Gillette almost had some kind of aversion to metal because there is very little metal in the home - all the door handles, latches and locks are hand carved out of wood. Even the stell girders that are the framework of the castle are covered with wood.
But I can't say that his aversion to metal was complete. On the grounds of the castle he did have two minature trains that rode on tracks. By Miniature I mean that they were not full size. Yet they were large enough to carry people around on cars. In in information center they have one of these trains on display. It is about ten feet long and six feet high.
The Inside of the Castle
There are some unique things about this castle such as the layout of the main room with the fireplace. There is a balcony on the second floor that runs the length and width of this room and it seems to me that the balcony would be the perfect place for people to look down on a performance. Or contrarily for people down on the first floor to look up at Mr. Gillette as he gave a performance on the balcony. They didn't say anything about this on the tour - just my guess. He did spend his whole life in Theatre so it would seem to make sense. I have a picture below to show this.
Location of the Castle:
In the 1940's the Castle and the surrounding area was purchased by the state of connecticut from the estate of Mr. Gillette and it is now a state park and landmark. It is located on the bank of the Connecticut River in East Haddam CT. You can visit the official website here: Gillette Castle State Park
An interesting way to visit the castle
Being on the bank of the river there is also an unusual and unique way that you can visit the castle. You can drive straight to it from anywhere or you can drive to the Ferry dock on the opposite side of the river and take the ferry across to the castle. Kind of a unique thing. I have a picture of the river and the ferry below. Make sure you check on the ferry schedule if this is the way you are going to do it.
Gillette Castle Pictures
The Front of the Castle
The Side of the Castle
The Balcony in the Great Room
And one of the most unique things about the castle is the hand carved wooden doors. This includes the hand carved wooden handle and locking mechanism. The house is full of these kind of wooden hand carved accessories and details.