Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kenilworth Castle: Yesterday...

In 1894 a wealthy Holyoke paper industry mogul named E.C .Taft purchased some farmland off Route 5 and began construction of Kenilworth Castle. Before construction, Taft had a knoll built so the castle could sit high above the surrounding landscapes and structures. Construction was completed in 1895

Taft, who was the founder of the Albion Paper Co. had an exclusive residence in the city of Holyoke on Elm Street in Holyoke and intended Kenilworth as a summer home. The castle had twelve rooms though appeared to be much bigger. Taft was known for his world travel and furnished the castle with many paintings, sculpture and furniture from all around the globe.

In late 1897, Taft decided to sell his Elm Street property and make Kenilworth his permanant residence, but after one week there, Taft died.

In the fall of 1897 his daughter Lucretia moved into the castle with her husband William Flagg
who was the owner of the Holyoke Democratic, a city newspaper. In 1941 William Flagg took his own life following a long illness and Lucretia lived there until her own death in early 1957.

In 1959, the Hadley Falls Trust Co. who was in charge of Mrs. Flagg's estate, sold the property to the Holyoke Water Power Company with hopes of building a power station on the land.
After it was decided too expensive a project, the Water Power decided to move it's offices there, this idea also was scrapped.

So after after a few other proposals including turning the castle into a museum, and after the building's structure was deem unsound, the castle was demolished in December of 1959.

Though the castle is long gone, some of it's artifacts are still around, including a stained glass window and bar at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a fireplace located at the Log Cabin Restaurant, and a
piano that's now located in San Francisco. For more on this piano check out this link:

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