Background:

Your Home Could Really Be Your Castle! (Great Barrington, MA)

searlescastleSeven towers, 40 rooms, 54000 square feet, 14 bedrooms, 36 fireplaces- Everything about the Searles-Hopkins Castle is monumentally impressive. Set on 90 acres in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and featuring 1000′ of water frontage on the Housatonic, the castle has long been a treasured Berkshire landmark. Designed by McKim, Mead & White, and thought to be largely the work of the great architect Stanford White himself, the mansion was built over 3 years and finished in 1888. The Castle was crafted from the finest materials available- European, African and American marbles, Mexican Onyx, delicate gold leaf, vintage bronze furnishings, carved English Oak, finely polished Black Walnut and more.    …And it could be yours for just $15 Million !

searlesinteriorThe Castle was built by Mary Sherwood Hopkins, the widow of Mark Hopkins, the Central Pacific Railroad Magnate and one of the richest men in the country at the time of his death in 1879. For the last twenty five years, the castle has been home to the John Dewey Academy- a coed college preparatory school.  For more on the castle’s history, check out this Passport Magazine article. For a photo tour, maps, and more information, check out the New England Castle website maintained by Kristine Girardin- the William Raveis Broker marketing the property.

mahopaccastleCastles for sale are few and far between, and historic castles are rarer still. They are a bit more common in Europe, where they range from ruins to intact fortresses still ready to repel invaders. Viviun, the international real estate listing service, maintains a page listing castles for sale throughout the world. Back in the US, this economical starter castle in Mahopac, New York is available for just $565,000. This castle is of more recent vintage (1958) and a bit more modest in size (5500 square feet) but would make for a nice entry-level castle purchase.

castlemagicFor those that just can’t find a good castle already standing, there is a construction firm in Sandpoint, Idaho specializing in castle construction. They have been in business since 1975 and have completed a number of castle projects. Their modern castles preserve the feel of antiquity but don’t spare modern comfort. As the CastleMagic site explains- “While the old castles were cold, damp, and downright miserable, our castles are toasty warm, dry, and healthy to live in. And they will last for hundreds of years just like the old castles.”  The average time to build a castle is two years, and the price widely varies, but a castle completed in 1999 is available for $1.6 Million and CastleMagic estimates building cost at $325 per square foot. Of course, it always costs a little more to buy new- the Searles Hopkins Castle is a bargain at around $280 per square foot !

5 Comments

  1. by Debra Winchell, on 10.12.12 @ 10:17 AM

     

    Ms. Hopkins only paid for the construction of the building of the estate. My great-grandfather Henry F. Winchell was on the construction crew!

  2. by Michael@HHB, on 10.12.12 @ 2:44 PM

     

    Hi Debra…I read your blog and saw the photo of Henry on the construction crew. How neat to find him in an old photo like that….and it would be cool to figure out exactly where that photo was taken based on the stone patterns (looks like it could have been one of the outer-wall towers?). Thanks for sharing!

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