On this beautiful spring day, my best friend and I decided to go on a road trip. I was surprised to hear that although she lived in Connecticut all her life, she had never been to Gillette Castle in East Haddam, so that was our destination. I had been several times but not too recently.
We started our visit with an informative video about William Gillette. I knew he was an actor who was famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, but I had missed the tidbit that William Gillette was the one who came up with the deerstalker hat and curved pipe and he also coined the phrase, "Elementary my dear Watson." If I had been quizzed I would have thought for sure that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had written that even though I had read his stories as a teen.
I also remembered being told that he had a small train and three miles of tracks that went the around the grounds of the castle that he used to entertain his guests--including Calvin Coolidge, Helen Hayes, Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein. I also knew the train had been moved to Lake Compounce until the 1990's. But now part of the train has been restored and returned to the museum section of the state park.
The castle is full of William Gillette's ingenuity, from a secret passage, mirror tricks and other inventions of this brilliant actor, author and inventor. There are over 40 wooden doors each with a unique design. He was a lover of cats and books. Here are photos which can speak for themselves.
|The path up to the castle|
|He called this the cat table. There are loose dangling pieces for the cats to play with.|
|There are two more wishes in that pond today.|
|No two doors were alike.|
|Cats and books!|
|From the elaborate houseboat he lived on for years before having the castle built.|
|Cat lover's rug.|
|On the wall is the device he had made so he didn't have to get out of bed to turn off the light.|
|The only book he wrote and no, we asked, no reference to Torrington, CT. Guess it was some place in England.|
|His original library.|
|Another window view.|
|A painting of William Gillette (the window reflected).|
|William Gillette and his wife are buried in Farmington|
|This was William Gillette's brother. I photographed this to show my husband, a Civil War buff, this tragic story.|
|This was the train "depot".|
|My favorite pic today.|