When driving through the townships of Montclair and Verona, New Jersey, a look through the window at Kip's Castle makes it easy to feel as though you've traveled across the Atlantic to the English countryside. With its intricate stonework, expansive size and several turrets, Kip's Castle is a grand estate.
Kip's Castle is situated on an 11-acre estate in New Jersey and straddles the border of Verona and Montclair townships. From its perch on top of First Mountain, the castle offers a commanding view of New York City as well as the Hudson River. Certainly the scenery makes it worth the trek up the castle's long, steep, winding driveway. Dramatic stone gates, a series of retaining walls and elaborate gardens add to the glory of the property.
Kip's Castle is an example of the homes of rich industrialists who lived in Essex County in the Gilded Age at the turn of the last century. The mansion and its 6,000-square-foot carriage house were built to resemble a Norman castle and exemplify romantic and medieval-revival architecture. The castle's arches and deep-set windows, veranda and large turret -- along with its dark exterior created from local trap rock and sandstone -- can be seen from miles.
The interior of Kip's Castle is just as elegant as its exterior. The 9,000-square-foot mansion features a handful of sizable octagon shaped rooms with domed ceilings that make them feel even more spacious. The castle boasts six fireplaces, including a massive stone one. Throughout the home, the interior is ornately covered in rich oak, intricate woodwork, tile work and glowing stained glass.
A Brief History
Frederic Ellsworth Kip, a textile tycoon, and his wife Charlotte began building their mansion in 1902. Kip selected the lot due to its stunning views of the Hudson River and the growing New York City skyline. Though the Kip family moved out in 1926, the home remained in a private estate owned by two families. In the 1970s, the property was purchased by Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his cult. After he was deported, the property was owned by a law firm before being sold to the county in 2007. Now, Kip's Castle is preserved as a park.