Tour the Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester Where One Man’s Home Really Was a Castle!

Check out the website, “Travels with Nathaniel” by Linda Orlomoski. The current blog entry has Linda and Nathaniel touring Hammond Castle.

Tour the Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester Where One Man’s Home Really Was a Castle!

by Linda Orlomoski

In addition to visiting Beauport, the beautiful Sleeper-McCann house on Gloucester’s Eastern Point, day-trippers from Salem’s Hawthorne Hotel can also visit another historic home of a completely different sort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the Magnolia section of Gloucester where you’ll feel like you’ve journeyed back to the days of fair maidens and chivalrous knights.
Nathaniel and I traveled to the very unique Hammond Castle Museum located on Hesperus Avenue on a bright, sunny Saturday to tour the home that was built by John Hays Hammond, Jr. between the years 1926 and 1929. Designed as a medieval-style castle, the structure was to serve as his home with his new bride, the location of his laboratory, and a backdrop for his collection of Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance artifacts.

For those of you who have no earthly clue who John Hays Hammond, Jr. is (and trust me, I was one of them before hearing about Hammond Castle!), he was one of the greatest electrical and mechanical inventors of his time who was known as known as “The Father of Radio Control”, an invention which eventually led to remote control and no doubt makes him the hero of couch potatoes and channel surfers the world over! In total, Hammond, Jr. is credited with more than 800 foreign and domestic patents on more than 400 inventions mostly in the fields of radio control and naval weaponry.

Born in San Francisco on April 13th, 1888, Hammond, Jr. soon after moved to South Africa with his family in 1893 where his father was a mining engineer who earned a reputed one-million dollars a year plus bonuses for his renowned expertise in the gold and diamond fields. While there, Hammond, Sr. became involved in the infamous Jameson Raid which he thought to be a political demonstration against the despotic Boer government. When the demonstration which occurred over the New Year’s weekend of 1895–96 went wrong, Hammond, Sr. was among those arrested along with Colonel Francis William Rhodes. The participants of the raid were put on trial for treason and sentenced to death in April of 1896, a sentence that was later commuted to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Click here for the rest of the blog entry and the pictures Linda took.

Here is one of the treasures Linda took a picture of in the museum and a description it.

One of the most treasured items that was kept in the Burmese Manuscript Box was given to Hammond, Jr. by the Governor of Santo Domingo – the purported skull of one of Christopher Columbus’ crew members. The oval box that the skull is resting in is of the late-14th or 15th century design; both were kept in the Burmese box at night and highly valued by Hammond, Jr. as he considered himself to be a world class explorer much like Columbus and his ilk.

Editor’s Note:

This blog entry was found by Publicity Committee Member and NEHW Co-Chair Stacey Longo.

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