Governor Waller Castle // c.1905

Who doesn’t love a good castle?! This stunning stone house atop a hill in Neptune Park, a neighborhood of summer cottages at the southern tip of New London, CT, was built around 1905 for Thomas M. Waller (1839-1924), an attorney and 51st Governor of Connecticut. Some estimate that the “castle” is much older (1850s), and was built by Samuel Mackenzie Elliott, a prominent NY doctor and abolitionist, but I could not prove that, though the street name “Elliott Ave” is a good starting point. The home was occupied by former Governor Thomas Waller as a summer retreat while he ran his legal office in downtown New London. The home suffered neglect (and possibly a fire) and was partly rebuilt with a new rear wing fronting the ocean proving amazing views of the Long Island Sound.

Beckett’s Castle // 1874

On a rise above the Cape Elizabeth’s rocky shore stands Beckett’s Castle, a picturesque Gothic cottage of a century ago. Designed and built by the Portland literary figure Sylvester Beckett for his summer residence, the Castle was begun in 1871 and finished in 1874. It is said that Beckett constructed the cottage from local gray fieldstone largely with his own hands, though he must have had help, or fabricated this fiction as he would have in his own books. The home was patterned after a typical English castle, but on a much smaller scale, and is tucked away from the street. Sylvester Blackmore Beckett was born in Portland, Maine in 1812, as the son of English parents. Although never attending college, he acquired a modest education and became a prominent journalist and articulate writer. He was admitted to the bar in 1859 and spent much of his time administering and settling estates becoming well-connected in town. Beckett held massive parties in the home, and invitations to the social gatherings held there were highly prized; guests were served expansive dinners cooked in primitive fashion in a large fireplace. Sylvester Beckett died in 1882, and went to his only child, Lizzie. The home fell into disrepair in the 1970s, but was restored by the most recent owner. It was sold in 2018, and the listing photos show some great interior spaces.

Hazard Castle // 1846

Set on 38 acres of land in Narragansett, Rhode Island, Hazard Castle stands prominently over the tree-line expressing designs of medieval European forts. The building was begun in 1846 as the main house for Joseph Peace Hazard’s seaside farm and was supposedly modeled after an abbey which Hazard had seen in England. The tower, which is 105 feet tall, was apparently constructed as a platform from which Hazard could more easily
communicate with his deceased ancestor’s spirits. The tower was completed in 1884. The Providence Catholic Diocese bought the property from the Hazard family in 1951 as a retreat house, and now is home to the Middlebridge School, a private boarding school for children with learning difficulties.

Joseph Hazard (1807-1892) lived in Peace Dale (now part of South Kingstown) Rhode Island and became involved in the family textile mill owned by his brothers Rowland G. and Isaac P. Hazard. Joseph was admitted to the partnership of “R.G. Hazard & Co.” in 1828; this business later became the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company. In his latter part of his life, Hazard was instrumental in the development of Narragansett Pier as popular summer resort.

Hazard Castle c. 1890 after completion of tower. Courtesy of Digital Commonwealth.