Nobody really gives it any thought, or any weight, but America does have castles….. a whole lot of them. A whole lot of them.
Once I started really delving into my research for my trip across the country I was a bit astonished by this fact.
Singer Casttle, on an island in Alexandria Bay NY
Part of this misunderstanding comes from the timeline and the definition of what a castle is. If we stay true to the definition we have to include the idea that a castle is fortified. It is a fortress, A building of strong defense. And this philosophy held true right up until the period of time when gunpowder (and cannons) came into prominence.
The ability to take down any thickness stone wall with repeated barrages of cannons pretty much killed that old style of Fortress Castle.
From there castles changed to more of architectural artwork and ostentatious displays of wealth . The rich built them and lived in them. They were more palace than fortress.
An interesting thing did happen in America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Searles Castle in Great Barrington Mass.
Wealthy people really took to the European concepts of castles and palaces. The wealthy and maybe a bit eccentric titans of industry started building their own castles. Not so much to defend against enemies, more as a place to live and a place to display their wealth.
America is dotted all over with these castle-fortresses. And they are magnificent.
So while we don’t actually have any castles that are a thousand years old we do have plenty of castles! And on my trip around America I am visiting some of them – well actually a lot of them. The count today as of May 31, 2018 is twelve of them. And I am still on the Eastern seaboard.
Would you like to follow along in the adventure as I travel America discovering and visiting all sorts of medieval things like castles, blacksmiths, meaderies, museums and more? It’s all happening on my youtube channel right here: Will’s Journey across Medieval America.