Daily Archives: July 27, 2011

“Sherlock’s Home”

During our recent riverboat cruise along the Connecticut River, we spotted this stone “house” up on a hill.  Seeing it from that distance, it appeared to us to be in disrepair.  (I cropped this picture on the computer, so it seems closer than it was.)

One of the crew members on the boat explained that it’s Gillette’s Castle, built by William Gillette, the actor who portrayed Sherlock Holmes in the early 20th century.  And we found out that it’s open for tours.

So once we completed our train/riverboat cruise trip, the castle was our next stop.

It’s an amazing place with quite a history. Building the house took five years, and it was completed in 1919. All the stone (and there’s quite a bit of it) was mined right in the area.

I’ve never been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, but we discovered that William Gillette was the one to actually bring the character to life. The cap and curved pipe with which we’re so familiar were Gillette’s idea. 

We learned a little about William Gillette during the tour. Apparently he was quite a character and loved playing pranks on his house guests. 

There’s a breathtaking view of the Connecticut River from the grounds. Apparently people boating on the river are looking up at the Castle, and folks touring the Castle are looking down at the river.

I took this picture from inside the house through a little diamond-shaped window. I didn’t notice it during the tour, but those stones at the top of the window are shaped like animal hooves. Learning what we did about William Gillette’s attention to detail, he probably planned it that way.

Since no flash photography was allowed inside the Castle, we didn’t get many good pictures of the interior. I took this one of the library for Marshall; he’d love to have access to all those old books.

 Cozy is not a word that comes to mind to describe this house.  And we were told that William Gillette never referred to it as a Castle.   

But there’s a word that fits.

Here’s a link to read more about Gillette’s Castle. If you’re ever in that area of Connecticut, it’s worth a visit. And I can’t take credit for “Sherlock’s Home”; that was the title of a booklet offered for sale in the gift shop.