A Visit to Castle Rock

Mar 18, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

Nothing beats asking what you're supposed to be scouting for, and being told: "Castles."

If you'veever driven along Route 9D in Garrison, New York, you may have seen itfrom the road: a fairy tale-like castle poking out from the trees atthe top of a mountain:

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Built in1881, Castle Rock was the estate of Illinois Central Railroad presidentWilliam Osborn, who also owned hundreds of acres of land surroundingproperty. Since Osborn's death in 1894, Castle Rock has passed downthrough numerous Osborn generations and is still privately owned by thefamily. Rumors abound that the castle was writer Frank Baum'sinspiration for the castle in the Wizard of Oz (Castle OSborn?).

Castle Rockwas deemed a National Landmark in 1977. Most of the surroundingwoodland was donated to the State Parks Council and is now open to thepublic. Several films and TV shows have been shot at Castle Rock, andthe owners are very film friendly. I was graciously granted permissionto post these pictures to help spread the word, and if you're seriouslyinterested, email me your production interest, and I'll pass along the contact info.

The drive upto the property is a long, windy dirt road that snakes up the mountain,a perfect approach to such a unique place. Note the numerous KEEP OUTsigns! This is still private property, and a caretaker living on thepremises has had to call the police countless times. Most productionspark their trucks at the nearby library and use stakebeds to portage upequipment:

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When you finally get to the top of the hill, you pass under this beautiful stone arch:

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Continue around a bend, and you find a stone gate:

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Pass through and you've reached Castle Rock!

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The front of the castle:

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A tower:

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A different view from the lower level:

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One of many porches:

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The famous spire:

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A basement-level passage:

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This addition was to be a recreation room. Sadly, it was never finished:

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Castle Rockis currently in the midst of some serious interior renovation work. Theoriginal door has been temporarily removed for construction. Anyoneknow what those hooks to the right are (perhaps for tying up horses)?

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This is thefront hall, and you can see the extent of renovation work. This is allto be redone within the next year or two, but a clever productioncompany with a budget could easily cover up the work (or even helpfinish it):

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(pan: click for full size!)

A second room with wood-paneling:

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The living room features a wrap-around porch...

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Head out on the porch and you are treated to one of many gorgeous views of the Hudson...

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(pan: click for full size!)

The full view of the Hudson from Castle Rock:

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(pan: click for full size!)

If you looknorth up the Hudson, you can see West Point. From this vantage point,it becomes quite obvious why the original garrison was built on thisstrategic crook in the river:

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Other Castle Rock porches and balconies, all with equally stunning views:

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A lower-level porch:

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No visit to Castle Rock is complete without a trip to the famous spire. I headed up the creaky spiral staircase...

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...up into the spire...

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...which features a full panorama of windows.

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Here is the view from the spire:

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(pan: click for full size!)

Another picture:

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A rare view of the Castle Rock roof:

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Outside, theCastle Rock grounds are tree-lined, shady and peaceful. This road leadsover the stone arch I passed under when I first came up the mountain:

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Looking away from the house, the road leads to a quiet spot surrounded by trees...

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At the far end is a fountain that I imagine hasn't been used in quite a while:

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The fountain up-close:

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Finally, I love the break in this little stone wall, leading off into the surrounding wilderness.

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There's alot more to Castle Rock that I didn't have a chance to shoot, includingthe Osborn's original spring-fed wooden water tank. You can't find amore unique property than Castle Rock, and the fact that it is locatedjust over an hour from New York City makes it priceless. A specialthanks again to Castle Rock for letting me post these pictures, andagain, if you're interested, send me an email and I'll relay the contact info.