Crowley Castle was designed by architect James C. Green (1877-1927). The castle was built between 1914 and 1917 for wealthy merchant Timothy Crowley on a 3 1/3 acre parcel of land in Rock Ridge. In 1932, business setbacks (due to repercussions from the 1929 crash of the stock market) caused Mr. Crowley to sell the castle. The purchaser was John L. Grey who renamed the castle Belle Caro. The name was later changed back to Crowley Castle.
The tallest part of the castle is a five story square tower. The castle has two contiguous wings, and has a living room that is said to be the largest in the state. Fireplaces abound throughout the castle, and there are many terraces and balconies.
The castle has new owners who are currently renovating.
On 2-7-08, I received E-mail that said:
This is some information that I came across recently with some more history on the Crowley Castle, Brookside Drive (Rock Ridge area), Greenwich, CT. I was born in Greenwich (1952) and I was 17 years old when they filmed "The April Fools" movie - we tried to sneak in to the castle to see the filming. When were young kids we always tried to get into the estate and the pool - but that pool was never filled that I remember. Ah, the good 'ol days - you didn't get in any trouble in those days - the castle owners just yelled and chased you away :-) We had lots of fun there over the years.
Back to Complete article from The New York Times
Excerpt from the article:
"The Castle on Brookside Drive was another popular location in town. The greatest of great estates is a Medieval fantasy, a castle-fortress high atop a steep hill, with red tile roofs and towers and balconies, a drawbridge and a moat, a great hall with a built-in pipe organ, a bowling alley in the basement, a swimming pool guarded by white marble caryatids, and gardens with waterfalls, statuary and Ali Baba stone urns.
In 1914, the Famous Players Lasky Company (the genesis of Paramount Pictures) made a big-budget version of ''Cinderella at the Castle'' starring Mary Pickford, whose fame was by then exceeded only by Charlie Chaplin's. The film was acclaimed for its ethereal special effects of fairies superimposed on woodland glades and a pumpkin's slow dissolve into a coach. Long considered lost, the film was discovered in the Nederlands Film Museum, and the Library of Congress now owns an acetate print.
''Romeo and Juliet'' was filmed in 1916 at the castle with the husband and wife team of Beverly Baynes and Francis X. Bushman, who is remembered for playing Messala in the 1924 ''Ben-Hur.'' This film is also considered lost, although surviving stills show the castle interiors, which the current owner, a shipping magnate, had filled with pricey antiques in high Spanish Gothic style, and exterior walls and balconies romantically overgrown with ivy. In 1924, a flapper comedy called ''Born Rich'' was made at the castle; again, all that survive are stills of people dancing the Charleston in the great hall and nursing hangovers beneath the coffered ceiling of the breakfast room.
The last time the castle played movie set was in 1969 for ''The April Fools,'' with Catherine Deneuve and Jack Lemmon. (Mr. Lemmon's first movie role was in an Army training film called ''Once Too Often,'' directed by the longtime Greenwich resident Charles Turner and shot partly on location at Binney Park and Island Beach.) The film is a must-rent for anyone who has ever wanted a peek inside the castle. You can spot some of the original furniture and tapestries in the great hall scenes, there's a wacky sword fight between Mr. Lemmon and Charles Boyer in the bowling alley, and Mr. Lemmon and Ms. Deneuve slow dance in the empty swimming pool in the moonlight."
The castle is a private residence and is NOT open to the public for tours.
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Picture courtesy of Peter Crowley.