Sept 04 – Lucknow (aka: Castle-in-the-Clouds)

While I played golf with Jeff at Kingswood Golf Club, Debbie and Sandy visited the Castle- in- the -Clouds (an estate named Lucknow, by it's builderThomas Plant).  While we have visited the estate in the past, Debbie said that since its restorations it was like going to a to totally new place.  I have included a few photos from the Castle-in-the-Clouds website to augment those taken by Debbie today.

Above – one of several photo from the Castle's Internet website

Thomas Gustave Plant was born in Bath, Maine in 1859 to French Canadian immigrants. He left school at age 14 to help support his family, and worked a variety of jobs before taking an apprenticeship as a shoe laster in a factory. An industrious and driven individual, Tom rose from laborer to factory owner in only 11 years. He established the Thomas G. Plant Company at the age of 32, and, by 1910, his factory in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts was the largest in the United States and the largest shoe factory in the world.  That year, at the age of only 51, Plant sold his business to the United Shoe Machinery Company and began to plan his retirement.

On a trip to Europe in the fall of 1912, Tom met Olive Dewey and they were married in the spring of 1913.

Olive was a well-educated young woman who had studied Greek at Wellesley College and worked as a school teacher. Together, Tom and Olive enjoyed the many outdoor activities Lucknow had to offer, especially riding their prized horses on the many trails on the estate.

After earning his fortune in the shoe industry at the turn of the 20th century, Tom Plant focused his attention on the Ossipee Mountains in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. In 1913-1914, Tom and his wife Olive built a unique and stunning country estate, which they called Lucknow.

Circa 1925

The masonry was done by hand using a mallet and chisel

Hollow tiles, made from terra cotta clay, similar to the ones used in construction of Lcuknow’s walls.

Apparently, when the castle was being constructed, a mason dropped a chisel while working on a basement wall and couldn’t recover it.  The antique chisel was found a century later in 2013 when restoration work was being done on that part of the building. 

The property spanned 6,300 acres and featured a 16-room Arts and Crafts mansion, stable and six car garage, two gate houses, a greenhouse, a golf course and tennis court, a man-made lake, a boathouse on Lake Winnipesaukee, and miles of carriage and bridle trials. For several years the Plants enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle at Lucknow, with state-of-the-art amenities, beautiful hand-made furnishings, and a large staff to run the estate.

By the early 1920s, due to a habit of overspending and some unwise investment choices, the Plants were no longer as financially comfortable as they had once been. They began mortgaging parcels of land, and eventually decided to sell Lucknow. Despite their effort, no buyer was found and the estate was mortgaged to a friend. The Plants were fortunate enough to remain at Lucknow until Tom’s death in 1941, at which time the estate went into foreclosure and Olive returned to her family in Illinois.

Above – one of several photo from the Castle's Internet website

The interior of the house refelcts the life style of its early 20th century owners.  While most ot the furnishings, which are periodically changed from year to year, are originals, other items, such as the ladies' slips have been acquired but are from the period when Tom and Oliva Plant lived there.

Above – one of several photo from the Castle's Internet website

Above – one of several photo from the Castle's Internet website

Dining Room

Note the table, its shape was specifically designed to match the contour of the wall

Needle Shower (for men only … because the spray was considered too harsh for a woman's delicate bodies)

Two of the twenty-one hand-painted window roundels

Detailed flooring, with each of the eight sections meeting perfectly at the center of the room

Several of the rooms and balconys provide exquisite vistas of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

The stables, which have been transformed into a restaurant, are the most impressive for the estate's outbuildings.

Above – one of several photo from the Castle's Internet website

Another building was the Maple Lodge.

There are also several gardens, some used for the backdrops for weddings and other receptions.

As interesting as the castle and its robber baron furnishings, the views from the Castle, overloking Lake Winnipesaukee are nothing short of spectacular … whether under sunny or cloudy skies.

Above – one of several photo from the Castle's Internet website

Back at Sandy's, Debbie posed with her carousel horse.

Afterwards, the four of us went to Ackerly's Grill & Galley where a sign at the entrance captured a basic truth of life.

We had an incredible lobster pie dinner!



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *