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The Hammond Castle

Day 10 - Part 1 - Sunday - September 18

EC/NE Camping Adventure 2022

We crammed a lot into this day, for sure, with visits to Hammond Castle in Gloucester, Salem and ending the day at Marblehead. With so many photos taken at the castle, it needs a post of its own. 😁😉

First, what young girl doesn’t dream of living in a castle?! When Jeff said we were going to visit a castle on this day, I had no idea it would be as elaborate and amazing as this! Now, I truly want to visit the many castles in Europe!

Hammond Castle is located on the rocky coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The castle, which was constructed between 1926 and 1929, was the home and laboratory of John Hays Hammond, Jr., an inventor and pioneer in the study of remote control who held over four hundred patents. The building is composed of modern and 15th-, 16th-, and 18th-century architectural elements and sits on a rocky cliff overlooking Gloucester Harbor.

The castle operates now as the Hammond Castle Museum, displaying Hammond's collection of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance artifacts as well as exhibits about his life and inventions. The Great Hall contains a one-of a-kind, massive pipe organ which Hammond had commissioned to be built. It took ten years to complete! The organ has been used for recording sessions, concerts, and various ceremonies over the years. Sadly it fell into silence several years ago.

Cape Ann residents, Hammond’s friends, and luminaries including Walt Disney, Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward, and John D. Rockefeller Jr. flocked to his tours and galas. Disney privately screened his 1940 masterpiece Fantasia in the Great Hall, which doubled, thanks to Hammond’s acoustical innovations, as a concert arena and recording studio where George Gershwin and other prominent musicians performed and played the 7,400-pipe organ. Overnight guests were treated to “playful” pranks. Hammond might appear suddenly in their rooms, late at night, from a hidden passageway, asking his favorite question: “What do you think of the castle?” Or, as visitors gasped in fear, he’d swan-dive into the courtyard’s decoratively green-tinged fountain and fish pond—then surface, smiling: the water was dyed to mask a nearly nine-foot swimming pool. They might also be subject to his in-house “weather system”: doused by rain or shrouded in fog through specially designed steam pipes, which primarily watered his collection of tropical plants.

It’s an amazing place to visit if you find yourself in the Gloucester area. It’s open seven days a week May through October, and weekends April, November and December. The castle is closed January through March.

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