Nestled in the woods on top of a hill in Tarrywile Park sits a castle, a beautiful stone castle. I was surprised to learn of its existence and immediately set out to see it. I hiked up the hill and stood before it, in awe of its beauty, despite its state of decay.
The three story seventeen room castle was built in the 1890's by photographer E. Starr Sanford. Sitting on top of a hill, one could sit on the large veranda and look out over Danbury. Sanford only enjoyed the castle for a few years before he sold it. The castle was purchased by Victor Buck (Buck's castle) as a place to enjoy summers in his retirement. It was later sold to Charles Darling Park as a wedding present for his daughter, Irene. At this time, the castle was named Hearthstone Castle. Irene resided in the castle until her death in the 1980's. The castle was sold to the city of Danbury in the late 1980's. Since then it has not been used as a residence.
The hike up the castle is relatively easy (the hike is uphill, but it is a short distance), and is worth the trip to see it. The exterior walls are standing, but the interior has been badly damaged. The roof and floors below it have collapsed. Despite the decay, it is a remarkable structure, and easy to imagine how beautiful it was many years ago. It is surrounded by a fence for your safety. If you visit, do not try to find a way beyond the fence. It is not safe to go near or into the castle. Please just appreciate the beauty of this building from the safe distance on the outside of the fence.
For more information on the history and possible future plans for the castle, please visit http://www.friendsoftarrywilepark.org/
For more great local tales and full size images by Jessica Collins, click here.