Golden Castle in the Sunset Glow

Jane Neill-Hancock

Wayne, United States

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I visited Kips Castle again for a photo shoot on Sunday Jan 20th, 2013. I walked down the drive a short distance to investigate some old stairs I had seen there. I walked up the steps toward the castle. It was around sunset and the sun setting shone a bright orange light on the castle which is perched on the mountain. The dark stone looked orange in the light and I had to capture it. What an unusual and marvelous sight it was.

Kip’s Castle, is a 10-acre (40,000 m2) estate (8 acres in Verona, 2 acres (8,100 m2) in Montclair) on the ridge of First Mountain, on the border of Montclair and Verona townships. It contains a 9,000-square-foot (840 m2) mansion that replicates a medieval Norman castle, and a 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) two-story carriage house.

Kip’s Castle, originally known as “Kypsburg,” was constructed over a three-year period in the early 1900s by Frederic Ellsworth Kip and his wife, Charlotte Bishop Williams Kip. Frederic was a wealthy textile inventor and industrialist who also published several books related to United States tariff laws.

Charlotte is credited for the design of the “Kypsburg” building and grounds, cultivating an octagonal rose garden in the southwest corner of the property. After Charlotte’s passing in 1926, the estate was sold and went through several owners, including Indian guru Osho in the 1980s, serving as a monastery.1

The building and grounds fell into a state of dilapidation until the law firm of Schwartz, Tobia & Stanziale purchased the property in 1985. Up until 2005 a considerable amount of work was done to restore the Castle to its original grandeur. In the early 2000s, the law firm wanted to develop townhouses on the property, however, found itself in various legal complications and lawsuits with Verona, and in 2006, the property was placed on the market.

As a result of grants from the NJ Green Acres Program and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund, the County of Essex purchased Kip’s Castle in March 2007. The property is now part of the historic Essex County Park System.

the website for the castle is http://kipscastle.org/

I am fortunate to live only 15 minutes from this gorgeous historic treasure.

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