When you first think of where to see castles, you automatically don’t think of the state of Massachusetts. There’s a trail of castles in Massachusetts from Boston MA castles, castles near Boston, and MA castles elsewhere. If you’re ready to spruce up your day with some castles and history, check out this list of 10 Massachusetts castles that are well worth a visit!
Castles in Massachusetts
These are the best castles in Massachusetts. Some of them make great day trips from Boston, such as Hammond Castle Museum and Castle Hill. There’s even one castle in a Boston suburb (Larz Anderson Auto Museum) which was built to be a carriage house for wealthy socialites.
Which of these Massachusetts castles will spark your interest?
Boston MA Castles
Unless you are in Europe, it’s hard to find castles in cities. These Boston MA castles are a fun addition to an eclectic city with a European feel.
Boston University Castle
Built in 1915, Boston University Castle was built by a wealthy factory owner from Fall River MA and was modelled on a Tudor mansion in Dorset in England. Parts of the BU castle even came from England. The stonework was done by the same sculptor who worked on Trinity Church in Boston’s Copley Square.
The Boston University Castle is used for university functions as well as private functions. The BU pub is in the basement but is limited to university students and faculty or their guests.
Address: 225 Bay State Rd, Boston, MA 02215
Park Plaza Castle
The Park Plaza Castle is now called Saunders Castle, a popular conference and wedding venue.
Built in the Romanesque-Revival style in 1897, Park Plaza Castle is located on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally used as the armory for the first corps of cadets and other military purposes, the Park Plaza Castle has had other uses over the years, including as a Smith & Wollensky steak restaurant and a conference center.
Address: 130 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116
Castles Near Boston
Many of these castles near Boston are a testament to all the wealth flowing around this area of Massachusetts during the turn of the 20th century.
Usen Castle, Waltham, MA
Not every university in the United States is lucky enough to boast having a castle on campus. There’s no overlooking the not-so-subtle red roofs of Usen Castle at Brandeis University.
The structure was built from the outside in, based on drawings of Lismore Castle in Ireland. Dr. John Hall Smith was so mesmerized by the Irish castle when he saw it, that he was determined to have the structure replicated on his Middlesex University Campus, which is now Brandeis University. Those lucky enough to have gone inside the 4-story structure would have witnessed extraordinary views of the Boston skyline.
Address: 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453
Hammond Castle Museum, Gloucester, MA
Nestled atop a bluff in Gloucester MA, Hammond Castle overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
Hammond Castle was built in the 1920s by scientist and inventor, John Hays Hammond Jr. as a wedding present for his soon-to-be wife, Irene Fenton Hammond. John Hammond Sr had made his money in Africa with the diamond mines of Cecil Rhodes. Junior was mentored by two pre-eminent inventors of his time, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison.
The exterior is made from local granite to resemble a medieval castle. Parts of the interior were shipped over from historic European buildings. Among the castle-like architectural features are a drawbridge, great hall, courtyards and secret doors and passageways. One feature that isn’t castle-like is the indoor pool.
From the architecture to the array of artifacts found within the castle, his love of ancient art is evident and on display for all to enjoy. One of the more random things on display is a skull from a crew member of Christopher Columbus’s ship.
Although the property was once used as his home and laboratory, today it serves as a museum, where visitors can appreciate the charming castle, and learn about Hammond’s inventions. The museum is open from Spring through the Fall.
Address: 80 Hesperus Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930
Bancroft’s Castle, Groton, MA
Upon arriving at Bancroft’s Castle, you will quickly notice an estate that, despite being built in the 1906, seems unfinished.
General William Bancroft built the castle to be retirement home. It ended up as merely a stone tower before he ran out of funds. In later incarnations, Bancroft’s Castle was used as a private hospital and an entertainment venue for the Groton Hunt Club.
Regardless, this hidden gem in Massachusetts attracts many visitors and photographers, particularly in autumn. Situated on a hiking trail, sightseers may take a short walk up the hill for serene views of the surrounding farms and mountains in the distance.
Address: Gibbet Hill, Lowell Road, Groton, MA 01450
Castle Hill, Ipswich, MA
Declared a National Historic Landmark, Castle Hill is undeniably one of the coolest castles in Massachusetts. From the perfectly manicured rolling hills to the picturesque Italian Gardens to the dramatic backdrop of the Atlantic, this Stuart-style mansion is worthy of a waltz around the premises.
Visitors can take a step back into the 1920s as they tour the European-inspired 59- room estate, as they marvel at the architecture, and enjoy the rose and Italian gardens. If you’re looking to further escape into nature, take a stroll through one of Castle Hill’s hiking trails.
Beautiful Crane Beach which is also part of the Crane Estate is considered one of the best beaches in Massachusetts.
Address: 290 Argilla Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938
Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, MA
The Larz Anderson Museum is one of the most unique castles in Mass. Originally built in 1888, the auto museum was once used as a lavish carriage house by socialites Larz and Isabel Anderson.
Yes, this Massachusetts castle was built to be a car garage holding the Anderson’s impressive collection of cars.
Keeping with the theme, today the impressive castle is home to “America’s Oldest Car Collection.” Whether you come for a car show in Spring or Summer or enjoy sledding on the premises in winter, both adults and children will love a trip to this museum.
Address: 15 Newton St. Brookline, MA 02445
Winnekenni Castle, Haverhill, MA
Inspired by the craggy castles of Scotland, Winnekenni Castle was built by Dr. James R. Nichols in the 1870s.
His goal was to prove that native rocks and boulders could be used as building materials in New England. The varicolored stone castle was used by Nichols as a summer home, before being sold in 1895 to the city of Haverhill to be used as a public park.
Run by a non-profit organisation nowadays, the picturesque castle – named after the translation from Algonquian Native American for “very beautiful” – is used to host many events. You can rent Winnekenni Castle for weddings and other private events as well.
The park is used to house the ice castles event in Boston every winter. Sculptures made of ice include interactive features like tunnels and slides – perfect for kids!
Address: 347 Kenoza Ave, Haverhill, MA 01830
Tenney Castle, Methuen, MA
Tenney Castle was built in 1890 for a wealthy industrialist. In the 1950s the Tenney family tried to give the castle to the town but the town didn’t want it.
Who turns down a free castle?! Presumably people who crunched the numbers and decided the upkeep was not worth the romanticism of owning a castle.
Eventually it became a drug rehab center before it became an abandoned building. The castle was destroyed in the late 1970s in a series of arson attacks.
The gatehouse was put on the list of National Registry of Historic Places in 1984. Better late than never!
In 1987, Massachusetts created a state park around the ruins, Greycourt State Park.
Address: 1 Park St, Methuen, MA 01844
Herreshoff Castle, Marblehead, MA
Built in 1920, Herreshoff Castle was formerly known as Castle Brattahlid. This castle was originally named and modeled on Erik the Red’s 10th century Greenland estate. The new name comes from a famous owner, L. Francis Herreshoff who bought it in 1945.
The weathered, mottled stone walls with climbing ivy and gothic arches will have you believing this castle was built well before the 1920s. Take a moment to admire the architecture, garden, medieval furniture, and trinkets within the castle.
Under new ownership since 1990, the castle now functions as a bed and breakfast.
Address: 2 Crocker Park Ln. Marblehead, MA 01945
Oliver Ames Library, North Easton MA
Built from local granite in 1883, the Oliver Ames Library has a fanciful tower as well as arches, gargoyles and ornate carvings befitting of any castle. The stone trim is the same as used in Boston’s Trinity Church in Copley Square.
The librarian’s apartment was an attic room in the tower! Sadly that was eliminated in the 1990’s to make room for more books.
The Oliver Ames library was funded by local industrialist similar to the castle-looking library in Maine.
Oliver Ames had made his fortune from railroads … and shovels. Those railroad tracks weren’t going to dig themselves.
The cost at the building came out to $80,000, an enormous amount for that time for a library. It was helpfully located across from the main Ames factories so townspeople could remember to be both grateful for jobs AND free reading material.
The Oliver Ames Library was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, the architect who trained Louis Sullivan, credited with inventing the skyscraper. The library also features the work of noted architect Sanford White and sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Address: 53 Main Street, North Easton, MA 02356
Prospect Hill Castle
Built in 1903 out of local granite, Prospect Hill Castle is a monument to the site’s military history.
Prospect Hill Castle was the site of The Citadel, an important part of American Revolutionary history, during the Siege of Boston. Later, during the Civil War, the site was used for military training.
Address: Prospect Hill Park, 68 Munroe St, Somerville, MA
Another listing on the National Register of Historic Places, this tower was built in 1900 by the Scituate Water Company. The next year a wealthy neighbor, a Mr. Lawson, convinced the company to cover the unsightly tower in wood to look like a turret.
At the top of the tower, there are two rooms which holds a clock that chimes on the hour. Visitors can climb to the top of Lawson Tower for great views over the surrounding landscape.
Address: 330 First Parish Rd, Scituate, MA 02066
Bonus: Belvidere Castle, Lowell, MA
Belvidere Castle is one of the privately owned Massachusetts castles. It’s a local landmark in this neighborhood of Lowell.
The castle is a 15,000 square foot Romanesque-style home, built in 1883 and still preserves its original features such as stained glass, hand-carved woodwork, fireplaces, and even an elevator – which you’ll need to navigate all 4 floors.
Additionally, within the house, you’ll find a theater, library, bar, and spa.
Other MA Castles
Most of the Massachusetts castle congregate around where the money was – Boston and nearby. These two MA castles are located in central and western Massachusetts.
Bancroft Tower was built in 1900 by Stephen Salisbury as a tribute to a childhood family friend, George Bancroft (politician, historian and founder of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland).
Open to the public, Bancroft’s Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in Salisbury Park, Bancroft Tower has great views from the top of the tower.
Address: Bancroft Tower Road, Salisbury Park, Worcester
Searles Castle, Great Barrington, MA
The French chateau-style palace has many amenities you’d find in an authentic castle, including a dungeon and seven prominent turrets.
The 60,000 square foott, 7 stories tall castle was constructed in 1888 and designed by the famous New York firm, McKim, Mead and White.
The castle was built for wealthy widow, Mary Sherwood Hopkins, who later married her much younger interior decorator, Edward Francis Searles.
There’s a secret passageway that connected the bedroom of Mary Sherwood Hopkins on the 2nd floor with the bedroom of Edward Francis Searles on the 3rd floor. Just call me Gilded Age gossip girl.
There is also 61-acre premises boasting a tennis court, lagoon, and garden.
Searles Castle has had several owners since the Searles, mostly as schools, including a private girls school and a boarding school.
In 1982, Searles Castle was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
In 2021, artist Hunt Slonem purchased Searles Castle for $3.25 million.
Address: 389 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA
Map of Castles in Massachusetts
For your trip planning purposes, here is a map of the castles in Massachusetts. As you can see, they tend to clumped together in a group so you can do a group of them as a road trip.
SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE!
We did not receive compensation of any form, monetary or otherwise, from any of the products, services, hotels etc mentioned in this article.