13 Mar ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO INVITES FORMER RESIDENTS AND GUESTS OF KIP’S CASTLE TO SHARE THEIR MEMORIES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2015
ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO INVITES FORMER RESIDENTS AND GUESTS OF KIP’S CASTLE TO SHARE THEIR MEMORIES
Essex County Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs to Use Stories
to Create History of Landmark
Montclair/Verona, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that the Essex County Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs is seeking former residents and guests of Essex County Kip’s Castle in Montclair/Verona, NJ. The Division is collecting the stories to document the rich and illustrious history of Kip’s Castle, which was acquired and preserved by Essex County in 2007.
“Purchasing Kip’s Castle was an extraordinary opportunity for Essex County to preserve a unique historic site. The addition of Kip’s Castle to our roster of recreational facilities several years ago saved the architecture of a bygone era, with its elegant grounds and magnificent view of the New York skyline,” DiVincenzo said. “We look forward to the public being a part of this project and sharing their stories and experiences at the Castle to bring its history to life,” he added.
The Essex County Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs requests former residents of Kip’s Castle, or people who have been guests of previous owners, to contact the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs at 973-268-3506. A staff member will return the call within 48 hours.
The Castle is currently undergoing a comprehensive renovation. A $1.5 million project to repair the roof, windows and masonry, as well as install a handicap accessible entrance, was completed in 2014. Plans are underway to restore the interior of the building.
Essex County purchased the property in 2007 for $5.6 million, through a $2.8 million grant from the NJ Green Acres program and a $2.8 million grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund for the acquisition.
The castle was built in 1902 by Frederic E. Kip, a wealthy textile manufacturer and investor. The 9,000-square-foot mansion is a replica of a medieval Norman castle and is constructed of local trap rock trimmed with sandstone. Many of the rooms are uniquely designed with round or octagonal shapes and vaulted ceilings. There are six ornately designed fireplaces throughout the structure. There also is a 6,000-square-foot, two-story carriage house that was renovated in 1984 to accommodate offices. The property is located on 11 acres on the ridge of First Mountain, and provides spectacular views.
The castle was used as a private residence for many years after Kip sold the estate in 1926. In the 1980s, the castle was the United States headquarters of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, an Indian guru. He sold the property in 1984 to the law firm of Schwartz Tobia Stanziale, which used the buildings as their law offices.
The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 22 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. The extraordinary views of the New York skyline and the unique castle architecture highlight Essex County Kip’s Castle Park, which at 11 acres is the fourth smallest park in the Essex County Parks System.
Contact: Anthony Puglisi