And by the way, I was told by"reliable" sources that the Castle would be sold for $1.00 to anyone who would agree to restore it.
I stumbled onto your site and happen to live rather close to a castle i never knew about so i did a little research and found some information that you may be interested in when you update your site. You have the castle listed as Tarrywille in Danbury Ct. It is part of the Tarrywile park but the castle is actually the Hearthstone Castle. I coppied the following information out of a local newspaper archive online.
Here's what I found:
The Hearthstone Castle was built between 1897-99 by E. Starr Sanford, who invented an early movie camera. The castle was intended to be a honeymoon "cottage'' for Sanford's wife. The property was sold in 1922 to C.D. Parks, a former indentured servant turned millionaire, whose family eventually sold it to the city in the 1980s.
Later, I received E-Mail that said:
Hearthstone Castle in Danbury, Connecticut was designed by the architect Ernest G. W. Dietrich. Dietrich is little known today. However, drawings of his work were extensively published in the architectural periodicals of the time. His earliest published works were in partnership with C. M. Bartberger of Pittsburgh. Dietrich later worked independently, with an office first in Brooklyn, New York and later 28th Street in Manhattan. He produced very picturesque designs, predominantly in the the Shingle Style or Colonial Revival style.
Dietrich must have been very proud of his design for the Sanford family castle, for he published llustrations of it on two separate occasions. In both cases the house is identified as the "Residence of Mr. E. Starr Sanford." Presumably the name Hearthstone came later.
The first drawing appeared in the periodical "American Architect and Building News" from August 20, 1898. The view is of the side of the house, with the carriage entrance appearing prominently in the foreground. The second illustration was in "Architecture and Building" from January 21, 1899. The castle is seen perched above a high stone retaining wall. Also included were plans for the first two floors. The first floor contained a large entrance hall, parlor, dining room and library (each with a fireplace), plus a kitchen and two butler's pantries. The second floor featured six bedrooms (three of which had fireplaces), and only one bathroom!
Later, I received E-Mail that said:
My family used to live in this castle before they sold it to the town of Danbury. And basically this man had the castle built for his daughter and her fiancee... Something about a bride.. But all the stones were shipped from England since he took pride in the work he was doing for his daughter. And we still have keys that belonged to the castle. Now it is in ruins... there are fences around it with windows and all my family wants to do is restore this. Its quite a shame that it was destroyed with grafiti and what not. There is more to the story than your sources have.
Later, I received E-Mail that said:
I found your site while I was looking up information about an estate that my family used to own. I thought that I might e-mail you and provide you with further, and some more correct information, than you had already recieved.
HEARTHSTONE CASTLE at Tarrywile in Danbury, CT was designed by Ernest G. W. Dietrich., as was previously stated. It was built for E. Starr Sanford of New York City, once again as stated, in 1897. The castle was originally named "The Sanford Castle" for obvious reasons. Sanford and his family only stayed with the castle for five years, before selling it in 1902 to Victor Buck, a retired New York industrialist. When the Buck family moved in, they renamed the castle "Buck's Castle" for obvious reasons.
In 1910, my great-great-great-grandfather, Charles Darling Parks, bought the Tarrywile Mansion from Dr. William C. Wiles. Later, in 1918, C. D. Parks bought "Buck's Castle" for his oldest daughter, Irene Parks, as a wedding gift. During this time the castle was renamed "Hearthstone Castle." The name was possibly changed to this due to the eight fireplaces, which were all made out of stone, and for the entire castle which was also made of stone. All of the rock that was used to build the castle was taken from the Tarrywile property, and transported on a small railroad, built inside of Tarrywile for just this purpose. All of the wood used in the building of the castle was brought in from Italy. All of the rought iron chandeliers, lamps, and wall sconces were made in Danbury by Cephas B. Rodgers Co.
The castle is three stories high. The first floor consists of five rooms and a kitchen with a butler's pantry. The second floor consists of six rooms; five bedrooms and a library. The third floor consists of five rooms; four bedrooms and a billiard room. The first floor has one powder room and a full bath near the basement. The second floor consists of four full baths, and the third floor with three. The full baths have standing showers, each with seven or more shower heads. The first floor of the castle has four fire places, and two on the second floor, and two more on the third. One of the mantles from the third floor is now located in a condominum of the now deceased Dr. and Mrs. Jean Parks Davis. (Jean Parks was C. D. Parks' youngest daughter, being born eighteen years after their first daughter Irene.)
The castle had the capability of producing its own electricity. The original entrance to the castle came around by the garages in front of the carriage house. That was changed to how it is at the present time over 80 years ago. While my grandparents lived in the castle, it was the only known estate with the working outside buildings still in tact. The outter buildings consisted of a care takers cottage, a pump house, a carriage house, a machine shop, a well tower, and there was originally a large goldfish pond. The living room on the main floor had one wall that was an entire bookcase. This bookcase could hold over 1,000 books, which it did do.
Many family weddings, and receptions were held at the castle. One wedding was the wedding of Jean Parks, C. D. Parks' last born daughter, whose wedding gown is now a part of historical merchandise at a local museum in Danbury, CT.
The last residents of the Hearthstone Castle were my grandparents, Richard and Constance Jennings. They lived there in 1983, some time after Irene Parks passed away, until March of 1987. The entire Tarrywile Estate was sold to the town of Danbury.
Renovations for the castle are being talked about, but nothing can happen with the castle until the roof is entirely replaced. Once it is replaced and the leaking stops then there will be no more threat of damage to the interior of the castle due to leaks. At that time, the Tarrywile Park Authorities plan to renovate the castle.
Later, I received E-Mail that said:
I visited Hearthstone Castle today and took a few photos. My photo page http://devbrain.com/photojournal/archives/000326.html - click 'em for a bigger view.
On 7-26-05, I received E-Mail that said:
With respect to the “offer” to sell the castle for $1 to anyone that would renovate it. It turns out that was the deal in 1985, but no one could afford the expense not of renovating, but of extending city water and sewer to the castle site. Of course, if one were to use the castle as a private residence they could get by on a well and septic as many homes in CT do. However, they want to keep it for public use. They are supposed to have an architect’s study done by next month (Aug 2005) to give them ideas of what they can do with it. I’ll be following this closely. If they decide they can’t afford the water and sewer extensions I sure hope they’ll reconsider selling it as a private residence rather than let it disintegrate any further.
On 5-24-07, I received E-Mail that said:
I AND MY FAMILY ARE THINKING ABOUT GETTING THE CITY OF DANBURY TOGETHER TO RENOVATE THE HEARTHSTONE CASTLE. THE CASTLE BELONGS TO THE CITY AND THE CITIZENS OF THIS TOWN, AND IT'S OUR JOB TO TAKE CARE OF IT! 700 YEARS FROM NOW, I WANT IT TO BE A PLACE WHERE TOURISTS COME FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO SEE. SOMETHING WE CAN BE PROUD OF, AND IF WE ALL WORK TOGETHER, WE CAN GET IT DONE.
WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF OUR PAST, TO BE PART OF OUR FUTURE BEFORE IT'S TO LATE. MAKE HISTORY, AND TELL OUR GRANDCHILDREN ABOUT IT. THE FIRST STEP I AM GOING TO TAKE, IS TO TALK TO THE MAYOR ABOUT SETTING UP SOME EVENTS TO RAISE THE MONEY, TALKING ABOUT IT AT SCHOOLS, AND LOCAL NEWS PAPERS. I HAVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT IDEAS FOR THE CASTLE, BUT THE ONE THAT TOUCHES ME THE MOST IS TO TURN IT INTO A PLACE WHERE WE CAN TELL THE HISTORY OF DANBURY...
IF ANYBODY HAS ANY IDEAS, WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE OR MAKE A COMMENT, PLEASE E-MAIL ME @ HISADULANIDJMONIQUE@HOTMAIL.COM
On 5-9-08, I received e-mail with a story about the castle. Here it is:
DANBURY -- The 18 students in Danbury's new alternative middle school want to save Hearthstone Castle. They wear "Save the Castle" T-shirts, made a public service announcement, and lobby city officials to save the three-story fieldstone castle built as a home in 1897 and bought by the city as part of the Tarrywile Park property in 1985. "We're trying to save the castle," 14-year-old Nikohl Lahood said during a field trip there Thursday. "We want to save it because we can use it in the future. It's one of our historic landmarks." The seventh- and eighth-graders attend Endeavor, the Danbury public schools' middle school program for at-risk students. They adopted the castle as a project.
In January, the city created a new task force to look at the castle's future, though the city has studied the site at different times for years. In March, several youths from Ridgefield allegedly vandalized the building. The castle was built by portrait photographer E. Starr Stanford in 1897 and is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Connecticut Register of Historic Places.
The roof has fallen in, so while the exterior of the castle is intact, the interior is ruined. "I just found out about the castle and I developed a bond with it," 13-year-old Trevor Beninson said. "I heard about the kids who vandalized it. Before, I would have thought it was funny, but now that I have put so much work into it, I don't think that is right."
The students visited the Danbury Museum and Historical Society to research the castle, and are collaborating with Escape to the Arts to make a clay model of it. They also interviewed Judy Durkin, whose grandparents lived in the castle.The students also surveyed about 150 people about the future of the castle and found most of them want the site used as an open-air pavilion or a nature center. The students will present their survey results to the city task force on the castle and plan to meet with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton next week.
"We're going to look at their research. I'm very proud of these young people for their taking an interest in the castle," Boughton said. "As far as making any commitment financially, it's not something we can do now. It's a very difficult time. But it's not to say we can't plan for the future." Endeavor director Sandy Atanasoff said the project is an effective learning experience for the students because it is hands-on and relevant. "They have learned how to tap into the community resources and are learning how city government works," she said. This is a chance for the students to make a difference in their community, Atanasoff added. "How cool would it be if these students would come here one day with their kids and could say they played a part in saving the Hearthstone Castle?"
Contact Eileen FitzGerald
or at (203) 731-3333.
Back to "Castles of the United States"
First picture courtesy of Dave Baker.
Second picture courtesy of Dave Clark.