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10 Must-See American Castles

  • Bob Krist/Corbis

    Boldt Castle, Heart Island, Thousand Islands, New York

    In 1904, Waldorf-Astoria hotel founder George Boldt halted construction on his 120-room, Rhineland-style castle when his wife died, and it was finally restored in 1977. You can also visit Boldt's yacht house on neighboring Wellesley Island to see an 1892 steam yacht typical of those plying the St. Lawrence River in that era.

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  • Amanda Hall/Robert Harding/Corbis

    Belvedere Castle, Central Park, New York

    Built in 1869 as a lookout point over Central Park, this Gothic-style castle still offers some of Manhattan's prettiest vistas. The National Weather Service has measured New York's wind speed and direction from its tower since 1919. Today it also houses a visitors center and the Henry Luce Nature Observatory.

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  • Lee Snider/Photo Images/Corbis

    Lyndhurst Castle, Tarrytown, New York

    Narrow hallways, pointy arched windows and peaked ceilings made this Gothic Revival castle — originally owned by New York City Mayor William Paulding Jr. in 1838 — an ideal "Collinwood" for two Dark Shadows movies. The National Trust for Historic Preservation home was last occupied by genuine nobility: Anna Gould, Duchess of Talleyrand-Périgord.

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  • Courtesy of Arcadia University

    Grey Towers Castle, Philadelphia

    Sugar magnate William Welsh Harrison modeled his 40-room castle after England's famous Alnwick Castle. Built in 1898 of multicolored stone in medieval and French Renaissance styles, it has gilded ceilings, tapestries and hand-carved woodwork. Arcadia University has owned it since 1929. 

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  • Richard T. Nowitz/Corbis

    Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

    A kaleidoscope of medieval, Gothic and Byzantine styles, the 44-room former home of industrialist/archaeologist/tilemaker Henry Mercer was festooned with his collection of handcrafted ceramic tiles. He bequeathed his "Castle for the New World" as a museum, which now contains exhibits on early American life.

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  • Courtesy Castle Farms

    Castle Farms, Charlevoix, Michigan

    Sears, Roebuck & Co. vice president Albert Loeb (father to Richard Loeb of the sensational 1924 Leopold-Loeb murder) built this extravagantly towered stone castle in 1918. It was a dairy farm, an arts center and a popular rock concert venue before becoming a house museum and wedding venue in 2001.

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  • Bo Zaunders/Corbis

    Bishop's Palace, Galveston, Texas

    The grandest among Galveston's trove of Gilded Age Victorians is railroad magnate Walther Gresham's chateau-esque stone-and-steel castle, built in 1892. It survived the Great Storm of 1900 to garner fame as a masterpiece of Victorian architecture, replete with intricate carvings, stained-glass windows and bronze dragons.

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  • iStockphoto

    Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

    Hollywood royalty once basked in the opulence of Hearst Castle, commissioned by newspaper heir William Randolph Hearst in 1919. His never-ending changes and additions drove architect Julia Morgan near to desperation, but the range of styles — Mediterranean, Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Gothic among them — add up to a magnificent work of art.

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  • Lucy Pemoni/Corbis

    Iolani Palace, Honolulu

    The Iolani is the only American palace actually built for royalty, completed in 1882 by "Merrie Monarch" King Kalakaua. A lavish red-and-gold throne room stands out in an interior that's already rich, thanks to the abundant use of native koa wood. Upstairs living quarters include the room where Queen Kapiolani was held during the 1895 coup. 

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  • Also of Interest

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