|Hammond Castle Museum, Magnolia MA|
|John Hays Hammond, Jr., the electrical engineer who invented radio remote control, radar and sonar, built himself a fantasy medieval castle home near Gloucester MA.|
Hammond Castle, now a quirky, fascinating museum, was built in four sections, each made to epitomize a distinct period of European architecture:
— The Great Hall is Romanesque
— The interior courtyard is fitted out as a medieval town square, with a pool and its own weather system—yes, it can create any weather the owner might desire
— The living quarters are Gothic and Renaissance French.
The caretaker and guide explains John Hays Hammond's passion for collecting, and his macabre sense of humor.
You come away from the tour marveling at the house's lovely setting, amused by its half-treasure-chest, half-gimcrack planning and construction, and puzzled by Hammond's genius, romanticism, and sheer weirdness.
In any case, you don't want to miss it.
Explore the Tower Galleries, with various exhibits and artifacts, and you can pick up a flyer listing the museum's many concerts, lectures, and special programs.
There are sometimes recitals on the Great Hall's fabulous 8,200-pipe organ. Other concerts have included Scott Joplin rags, chamber music, and guitar music.
There are special theme evenings as well. Hallowe'en is among the most popular, as you might imagine.
Hammond Castle Museum
The museum is in the northeastern portion of Magnolia MA, just southwest of Gloucester MA. (map)
Coming from Boston, go north on I-93 and/or I-95 to MA Route 128 North. At MA 128 Exit 14 (Gloucester), turn right on MA Route 133, go three miles, go right on MA Route 127, go 1.5 miles and look for a sign on the left for Hammond Castle. Turn left at the sign onto Herperus Avenue and go 3/4 mile to the musum on the left.
—by Tom Brosnahan