Unlike fortified European castles, America’s castles were built to showcase their owners’ social status and wealth. They were erected not to warn medieval enemies to stay away, but instead to broadcast the prestige and importance of the citizens dwelling behind the imposing walls! Here is a list of five of the most extraordinary Castles in the USA.
Spectacular Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, is one of the most well-known and most-visited castles in the country. It was built by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst who selected a glorious Mediterranean Revival style. Castle visitors can choose from a variety of tours, each with magnificent, up-close views of Hearst’s rare personal collections, gathered as he globetrotted during his heyday. There are outdoor and indoor swimming pools, and the edifice was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
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The Smithsonian Castle
Today the Smithsonian Institution maintains its collections and specimens in several distinct buildings. But prior to its necessary expansion, the valuables were housed in The Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C. The distinctly unique castle with its magnificent, sprawling grounds was built in the mid-1800s and designed by the same architect, James Renwick Jr., responsible for designing St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
New York’s Singer Castle
Are you a mystery buff? Do you fancy a trip to an isolated island with a sinister name and tons of clandestine corridors? Then you owe yourself a visit to New York’s Singer Castle, housed on Dark Island. The spooky mansion is situated in the St. Lawrence Seaway, and was built by Frederick Gilbert Bourne. The grand castle (with plenty of secret passages) is surrounded by lush trees and greenery and boasts its very own clock tower.
Many historians view the Vanderbilt family as genuine American royalty, second only to the Kennedy dynasty. So it’s only fitting that once upon a time the Vanderbilts chose to live in a 135,280-square-feet castle known as the Biltmore Estate. Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the towering residence is the largest abode in America. It is a fine example of Gilded Age architecture, and resembles a European Château on steroids!
The Bettendorf Castle in Fox River Grove, Illinois, resembles a fairy tale come to life! It boasts a wishing well, a moat, and an actual drawbridge. Its owner, Theodore Bettendorf, used a castle in Luxembourg as his inspiration and the impressive structure took a whopping 36 years to build. Of note, the Gothic-like facade is made of stone sourced from local fields and quarries.
Did you know you did not have to travel to Europe to see Castles? Will you be adding a visit to one of these magnificent castles to your vacation list?