Hammond Castle Museum


Dr John Hays Hammond Jr (1888–1965) was an electrical engineer and inventor who amassed a fortune fulfilling defense contracts. With this wealth, Hammond pursued his passion for collecting European art and architecture. His eccentric home is a medieval castle that he built to house all his treasures, dating from the Romanesque, medieval, Gothic and Renaissance periods.

Furnishings are eclectic and interesting, including a magnificent 8200-pipe organ in the Romanesque Great Hall. Despite his genius with electrical things, it was not Dr John but rather Laurens Hammond (unrelated) who invented the electric organ.

Hammond Castle overlooks several spectacular natural features. Painted by Fitz Henry Lane and many other artists over the years, Rafe’s Chasm is a cleft in the rocky shoreline that is characterized by turgid and thrashing water. Near it is Norman’s Woe, the reef on which the ship broke up in Longfellow’s poem ‘The Wreck of the Hesperus.'

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