Other Ideas: Castle Island and Fort Independence; Old State House Museum; Fenway Park Tours; Boston Public Garden; Castle Hill on the Crane Estate
This favorite Haverhill landmark is a valuable part of the community, still serving as a recreational park and offering, concerts, plays, workshops, craft fairs, Halloween parties, fundraisers and so much more. Selected as Haverhill's Best Scenic and Best Historical Place by the Haverhill Gazette.
In 1861, Dr. James R. Nichols, a chemist and agriculturist bought the Darling Farm, which sat on a hill overlooking Kenoza Lake, to use for his experiments with chemical fertilizers. In 1872 he visited England and was inspired by their long-standing stone structures. He returned with an idea to build a summer home from native boulders and rocks. He was quoted at the time as saying ... “we desire to prove to farmers and others in a practical way the value of boulder rocks. (so common on almost every New England Farm) as building materials.” Construction began in 1873 and was completed two years later in 1875. He called the building Winnekenni Castle and the surrounding farm Winnekenni, an Algonquin Indian word for “Very Beautiful!
The original structure contained a gothic door opening up to a spacious Grecian Drawing Room, a Pompeian style dining room, and Roman-tiled, black-walnut finished library.From the roof of the castle at the time was a view of seventeen surrounding towns, three counties, three states, as well as Mount Monanock, Mt. Argamenticus in Maine and the ocean.
In 1885 due to poor health Dr. Nichols sold the castle and 27 acres of land to his cousin William Webb of Salem, MA who used the castle as a summer home.for ten years. In 1895 the propertywas sold to the City of Haverhill. The castle and grounds merged with the Haverhill Water Dept. and more recently with the Winnekenni Foundation.
The castle walls are four feet thick and indeed the castle has a sound structure. It’s elaborate Victorian interior was destroyed by fire in 1969. However the outside has withstood the test of time and was remodeled by the Winnekenni Foundation with the help of students and faculty from Whittier Regional Technical High School.
347 Kenoza Ave. (Rte. 110), Haverill, MA map
Take 93 North to 495 North (exit 52) Haverhill/Bradford (Rte 110). It’s the LAST Haverhill Exit. At the end of exit take a left. You will pass two entrance roads to Northern Essex Community College. You will pass Kenoza Lake on your left. After the lake there is a pond. At the pond (also on the left) there is a sign that reads “Winnekenni Castle” on it (there are stonewalls on either side on the entrance). Take that left. When you go through the entrance there will be a tennis court on your right and the pond on your left. Drive all the way up to the top of the hill and you will see the castle. (Warning: the road is not paved so please drive with caution.)
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