It might have been a set for a production of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”; such was Hartford actor William Gillette’s ardor of the theater and early cinema. It wasn’t. But this private home, built for his retirement, is a showcase of the creativity of someone who must have been a fascinating and eccentric thespian cum architect cum engineer.
Gillette’s most well-known character, Sherlock Holmes, would surely have thrived on the mystery and intrigue of the quirkiness of Gillette’s design. There are forty-seven doors throughout this house, each with a uniquely designed hand carved wooden latch. His stagecraft experience influenced the design of some of the furniture and many of the fixtures.
The gardens, too, reflect Gillette’s appreciation of his cliff-top location high above the Connecticut River.
Completed in 1919, Gillette’s Castle was completely renovated ($11.5M) in 2002, and is ready for your visit.
The castle is one of the spectacular sites that you will see if you participate in the Hartford Jazz Society’s annual jazz cruize in September.