Castle in the Clouds
Built in 1913 – 1914 the Castle had many technologically advanced features for a property of this era, such as its own electricity run from a water driven generator. The 16 room Craftsman style castle was built for Tom and Olive Plant. During its construction there were over 1000 workers on site.
Tom Plant made his fortune in shoe manufacturing and retired in 1910, at the age of 51, when he sold his company to his biggest competitor.
At its heyday the property consisted of 6300 acres from the Ossipee Mountains all the way to Lake Winnipesaukee, including 1.5 miles of shorefront. Designed by the architectural firm J. Williams Beal and Sons of Boston MA, it was built to take advantage of the views from every room. Since Tom Plant was of small stature the doorknobs were all set lower than normal.
Prior to the Plant’s building of the Castle known as Lucknow, the property was owned by B.F. Shaw who had 350 acres, which he purchased in 1879 to build his summer estate which consisted of Weelahka Hall and a building adjacent which was referred to as the Lodge. Between these two buildings they could have up to 35 visitors. This was named Ossipee Mountain Park. When Tom Plant went to build Lucknow he razed and burned these buildings.
Through a series of bad investments in the mid 1920’s, the Plant’s lost their fortune and in 1941 – 1942 the property was auctioned off to pay his creditors. The Plant’s were allowed to stay in the Castle and all furnishings remained. The Castle was sold to Fred C. Tobey who was interested in logging the hardwood off the property and using it as a summer residence. When he depleted the hardwood he sold the Castle without informing his wife, who loved the Castle.
The Castle opened as a tourist attraction in 1956 and in 2006 the Castle Preservation Society took over the running of it.