Castle in the Clouds

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This article is about the mansion and mountaintop estate in New Hampshire, USA. For other uses, see Castle in the sky.

Coordinates: 43°43′42″N 71°19′19″W / 43.72833°N 71.32194°W / 43.72833; -71.32194

Facade of the mansion and lawn overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee

Castle in the Clouds (or Lucknow) is a 16-room mansion and 5,500-acre (2,200 ha) mountaintop estate in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, open seasonally to the public, and owned and operated by the Castle Preservation Society, a private 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. It overlooks Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountains from a rocky outcropping of Lee Mountain formerly known as "The Crow's Nest".


Weelahka Hall c. 1885, showing distant Crow's Nest, site of Lucknow

The home was built in 1913-1914 in the Craftsman Style by millionaire shoe manufacturer Thomas Gustave Plant (1859-1941) for his second wife, Olive Cornelia Dewey. Its nickname Lucknow may have been a play on words on the city of Lucknow in India. The property was assembled from the private Ossipee Mountain Park, an observation area called the Crow's Nest, and a variety of other lodges and buildings. He razed the structures and built the mansion, a stable/garage, gatehouses, a greenhouse, farm buildings, and a golf course. The property eventually extended to 6,300 acres (25 km2).

Designed by prominent Boston architect J. Williams Beal (assisted by his sons John Woodbridge Beal and Horatio Beal),[1] the house included many innovations which were rare at the time, including a circular shower, interlocking kitchen tiles, and a central vacuum system. The interiors were designed by Irving & Casson-A.H. Davenport. Bronze and tile work were by William Jackson & Company; electric fixtures by Edward F. Caldwell & Co.; and glass by Tiffany.[2]

After Plant lost his money in a series of bad investments, the house and its contents were auctioned off in 1941-1942 to pay his creditors who allowed him to stay in the mansion until his death, but the furnishings remained with the house. The property was purchased by the Fred C. Tobey family for logging purposes, as well as being their summer home. When he ran out of hardwood to cut, he sold the castle without telling his wife, who happened to love the castle.[citation needed] It opened as a tourist attraction in 1956.


Castle in the Clouds is owned and operated by the Castle Preservation Society, a non-profit organization. The Castle, Carriage House, gift shop, art gallery and Cafe and Patio are open to the public from late May to early October.[3]


  1. ^ New Insights on the History of Castle in the Clouds
  2. ^ Mulkern
  3. ^ Castle Preservation Society; Announcement of restoration plan (PDF)


  • Ellen Albanese, "N.H. castle built on shoes, love, a grand vision", Boston Globe, August 3, 2008. full text
  • Eric Jones, New Hampshire Curiosities, Globe Pequot Press, 2006, p. 153. ISBN 0-7627-3979-7.
  • Larissa Mulkern, "A Home Ahead of Its Time", New Hampshire Home, Fall 2007. full text
  • Bryant Franklin Tolles, Summer Cottages in the White Mountains: The Architecture of Leisure and Recreation, 1870 to 1930, University Press of New England, 2000. ISBN 0-87451-953-5.
  • Bryant Franklin Tolles, Carolyn K. Tolles, New Hampshire Historical Society, New Hampshire Architecture, University Press of New England, 1979, p. 270. ISBN 0-87451-167-4.

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