Lambert Castle

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Belle Vista
Lambert Castle, Paterson, NJ - looking northwest.jpg
Lambert Castle in 2014
Lambert Castle is located in Passaic County, New Jersey
Lambert Castle
Lambert Castle is located in New Jersey
Lambert Castle
Lambert Castle is located in the United States
Lambert Castle
LocationValley Road in Garret Mountain Reservation, Paterson, New Jersey
Coordinates40°54′0″N 74°10′22″W / 40.90000°N 74.17278°W / 40.90000; -74.17278Coordinates: 40°54′0″N 74°10′22″W / 40.90000°N 74.17278°W / 40.90000; -74.17278
Arealess than one acre
Built1892 (1892)
NRHP reference No.76001180[1]
NJRHP No.2385[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 3, 1976
Designated NJRHPNovember 25, 1975

Lambert Castle, originally called Belle Vista, is located within the Garret Mountain Reservation in Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey. The building was built in 1892 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 3, 1976 for its significance in art, architecture, and industry.[3]


Catholina Lambert (1834–1923)

Lambert Castle was built in 1892 as the home of Catholina Lambert, the owner of a prominent silk mill in the City of Paterson. Constructed in the Medieval Revival architectural style, Mr. Lambert's dream was to build a home reminiscent of the castles in Great Britain that he remembered from his boyhood years. President William McKinley and Vice President Garret Hobart visited the castle in 1898. In June 1910, filmmaker D. W. Griffith shot The Call To Arms on the grounds. The film was released in July 1910. The cast included Mary Pickford (in her only male role) and Henry B. Walthall. Film Preservation Society, Inc. is currently restoring the film as part of The Biograph Project.[4]

After Lambert's death in 1923, his family sold the building to the City of Paterson, which in turn sold it to Passaic County a few years later. Passaic County used the building for administrative offices, and in 1936, provided one room to the fledgling Passaic County Historical Society to serve as its historical museum. As time went by the museum grew, room by room, until the entire first floor became the historical museum.

In the late 1990s, the Castle underwent a multimillion-dollar restoration and all four floors of the building were developed into a museum and library.[5]


Construction began on the castle in 1891. The castle was built on the side of the First Watchung Mountain out of sandstone and granite. The sandstone was quarried from the surrounding hills. The initial construction cost was estimated at a half a million dollars.[5] In 1896, an art gallery was added to the castle and a 70-foot observation tower was constructed on the crest of the cliff.

The gallery wing fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1936. The observation tower was open to the public until the late 1960s when it was closed due to disrepair.[5]

In 2014 the Garret Rock Observation tower renovations were completed and the observation tower was reopened to the public. Admission to the tower is free with panoramic views available from the top.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System – (#76001180)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Passaic County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. December 28, 2020. p. 7.
  3. ^ Hammond, D. Stanton (1974). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Belle Vista (Lambert Castle)". National Park Service. With accompanying 3 photos
  4. ^ When The Movies Were Young, Linda Arvidson, January 1, 1925
  5. ^ a b c Archived January 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Accessed April 29, 2010.
6.In the Beauty of the Lilies, page 1. John Updike, 1996.

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