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Step Inside Hammond Castle, A Coastal Palace With A Dungeon, Drawbridge, And Bell Tower

Often known as the “father of distant management,” John Hays Hammond Jr. constructed his dream palace with conventional medieval options, together with a drawbridge, bell tower, and dungeon.

Ground View Castle Front

Discover Hammond Fortress, The Extravagant Property Constructed By Thomas Edison’s Eccentric Protégé

John Hays Hammond Jr. was a prolific inventor. With over 400 patents to his title, he amassed a good quantity of wealth – which he put towards constructing a fantastical dwelling: Hammond Fortress.

The spectacular mansion that looms over the coast in Massachusett’s Cape Ann is a mixture of a medieval fort, a French chateau, and a Gothic cathedral. Although it appears prefer it’s straight out of the center ages, it was really accomplished in 1929.

The mansion displays Hammond’s personal distinctive architectural pursuits and humorousness. It features a courtyard with its personal remote-controlled climate system, the most important pipe organ ever put in in a personal dwelling, and a library that may maintain no secrets and techniques.

Hammond Fortress has additionally hosted a slew of celebrities from its day, together with Walt Disney, who hosted an early screening of Fantasia proper there within the mansion’s Nice Corridor in 1939.

Have a look contained in the fantastical trendy palace that’s Hammond Fortress.

The Man Behind Hammond Fortress

John Hays Hammond

Getty PhotosJohn H. Hammond Jr. in 1914.

To know Hammond Fortress, it is useful to know who its creator was. John Hays Hammond, Jr. was born in San Francisco, California 1888, and he spent his early years along with his household in South Africa and England, the place his father was a mining engineer. On the flip of the 20th century, nonetheless, they returned stateside.

When Hammond was 12 years previous, he visited Edison’s laboratory in New Jersey and made fairly a splash there. The budding inventor ended up asking so many questions that he obtained an prolonged tour — and many recommendation from Edison himself. Edison turned a mentor to Hammond, who he thought-about to be a genius they usually remained mates till Edison’s loss of life in 1931.

Along with Edison, Hammond additionally rubbed elbows with famed electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. One can think about this ruffled Edison’s feathers a bit, as Hammond and Tesla even considered beginning their very own wi-fi firm collectively.

As if that roster of mentors wasn’t spectacular sufficient, the inventor of the phone, Alexander Graham Bell, even took younger Hammond below his wing at one level.

After graduating from Yale in 1910, Hammond obtained a job within the U.S. Patent Workplace the place he hoped to get a way of which sorts of patents made cash. As he’d gleaned from Edison, inventing may very well be a money-making enterprise. He will need to have realized one thing, as by age 19, he was already a millionaire.

Hammond is credited with some 800 overseas and home patents on greater than 400 innovations — largely within the space of distant management, naval weapons, and radio. He additionally has a number of modified pianos and organ patents, as properly. He’s additionally thought-about “the daddy of the distant management,” and his innovations are at the moment the idea for all trendy distant radio gadgets.

He turned the second most profitable inventor within the U.S., second solely to Edison.

Constructing A Fashionable Medieval Fortress

A digital tour of Hammond Fortress.

“In a number of years after I’m gone, all my scientific creations can be old school and forgotten,” Hammond wrote in 1924. “I need to construct one thing in exhausting stone and engrave on it for posterity a reputation of which I’m justly proud.”

So he did.

Having lived in England as a toddler, Hammond grew keen on castles and historical past. He pieced collectively his inimitable dwelling with relics and supplies he present in medieval European villages. He’d actually choose up constructing façades and panels from World Battle I rubble piles, put them on a ship, and sail them throughout the ocean.

Hammond Fortress known as Abbadia Mare, or the “abbey by the ocean,” for the likeness it bears to a church. He put in flying buttresses and a bell tower — even a drawbridge that also serves as the principle entrance.

Inside, the principle residing space resembled a 13th-century French cathedral and was stuffed with odd artifacts from Roman and Renaissance occasions, together with the cranium of one in all Christopher Columbus’s crewmates.

Hammond Fortress so impressed famed artwork collector John D. Rockefeller that he modeled the Cloisters Museum in New York after it.

Satirically, Hammond’s spouse, Irene Fenton Reynolds, was not as taken with the medieval structure of their dwelling as her husband was. Although she tried to embellish the visitor bedrooms in a lighter style, Hammond nonetheless managed to place in a component of the surprising.

He prolonged her wallpaper to cowl the room’s doorways and eliminated the doorknobs. In lieu of the knobs, he put in buttons that opened the doorways — hiding them inside the wallpaper design. Many drunken in a single day company resorted to yelling for assist with a purpose to discover their means out the subsequent morning.

A Distant-Managed Courtyard And Report-Breaking Organ

A strolling tour of Hammond Fortress’s grounds.

Many guests as we speak contemplate the courtyard and pool to be the principle attracts of Hammond Fortress, the place salvaged fronts of previous French markets make up the partitions.

As “the daddy of distant management,” Hammond put in a courtyard climate management system that allowed him to set the climate contained in the fort grounds to something he desired; from torrential downpours to sunsets and synthetic moonlight in the midst of the day.

Hammond was identified to jump into the pool cannonball-style from the fort’s second story. Maybe it is this lust for all times that additionally prompted him to place a nude statue of himself overlooking the pool – with an appropriately positioned fig leaf at his spouse’s request.

Again contained in the fort, within the Nice Corridor, sits the most important home-installed pipe organ on the planet. It has over 8,000 pipes they usually run eight tales tall. Sadly, because of the quantity of maintenance required for these organs, it now not works.

Hammond’s library additionally has a secret — that it might probably maintain no secrets and techniques! The domed prime acts as an acoustic megaphone. If somebody stands in the midst of the room below it, they will hear any dialog within the library as if it is being broadcast over a speaker. Even when the dialog is just as loud as a whisper.

Lastly, the fort incorporates a true medieval dungeon, the place company had been allegedly typically playfully locked in in the event that they spilled wine on the dinner desk.

John Hays Hammond believed that his fame can be fleeting as expertise marched on after he was gone. He constructed Hammond Fortress as a extra lasting a part of his legacy, and maybe additionally out of his pure zest for all times.

Hammond Fortress is open to guests who can take excursions at their leisure, or it may be rented out for particular occasions.


Subsequent, try Neuschwanstein, the fairytale fort with a heartbreaking secret. Then, see which famous inventors do not deserve the credit score for his or her most well-known invention.

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