Think all castles are in Europe? Think again. There are properties fit for fairy tales on this side of the Atlantic, too. In fact, one in Westchester County, New York, just went on the market for $3.69 million—and it looks like it was plucked straight out of the Middle Ages.
In reality, the castle at 249 Croton Dam Road was built in 1920 by David T. Abercrombie, the cofounder of Abercrombie & Fitch, which originally began as a camping supplies and clothing company that outfitted explorers from President Theodore Roosevelt to Amelia Earhart. Abercrombie’s wife, Lucy Abbott Cate, designed what the couple would call Elda Castle, an acronym for their four children: Elizabeth, Lucy, David, and Abbott.
Though the address is listed as being in Ossining, the 49.6-acre estate is actually (and fittingly) found in New Castle, just one hour from New York City—and it has one fascinating backstory.
According to The New York History Blog, Abercrombie had sold his share of Abercrombie & Fitch to his partner, Ezra Fitch, and begun a career in the military by the time he and his wife broke ground on the project in 1925.
Constructed with steel from Cate’s father’s iron works in Baltimore and granite and fieldstone believed to be sourced from the Hudson Valley area, the castle consists of two stories of living space. At one time, there were 25 rooms, including servants’ quarters. Two striking features that still remain today are the open courtyard meant to look like a ruin and a spiral staircase to the tower.
Construction was completed in 1928. Just one year later, the couple’s daughter, Lucy, died in a tragic accident at her father’s Ossining factory. In 1931, at the age of 64, David Sr. died of rheumatic fever, and in 1937, David Jr. was killed in an accident. After her husband died, Cate went to live with their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, in New Jersey, until her own death in 1955. As a result, Elda sat empty off and on for years, sustaining damage from vandals including fires and paint poured on the marble floors.
The estate has changed hands several times over the last few decades, reportedly last going for $3.75 million to Morgan Immovable Trust in 2011. But so far, no one has been successful in returning the castle to its former glory.