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Gilford's Kimball Castle deemed unsafe

Union Leader Correspondent

April 14. 2013 8:09PM
Historic Kimball Castle in Gilford has been declared a danger to the public and must be torn down or fenced off. (COURTESY)

GILFORD - The historic Kimball Castle, which was built at the end of the 19th century by the president of a large railroad company, is now a danger to the public and must be torn down or enclosed by fencing, town officials say.

"The walls are literally in danger of falling down," said Town Administrator Scott Dunn.

The castle, which was built on Lockes Hill on Belknap Point in 1895 by Concord and Montreal Railroad President Benjamin Ames Kimball, is not easily accessible to the public and was never a tourist site, town officials said.

It is listed in town records as a mansion with nearly 4,000 square feet of total living area and had a net assessed value of $311,600 in 2012.

Kimball family members hoped the castle would be preserved and not used for commercial purposes, according to the castle's website.

The town, which owned the castle for a period, created the Locke's Hill Nature Preserve on 260 acres and built hiking and skiing trails on it in the 1990s.

The castle and its remaining land were later sold, and it is now owned by Kimball Castle Properties, LLC of Nashua, according to town records.

Last week Dunn told the selectmen that the town's building inspector has determined that the structure is not safe, and said the owners must remedy the situation, as the castle has been vandalized and has frequent trespassers.

Selectmen agreed, and the owners are being notified of the decision. "It's been neglected, and it's not safe anymore for the people in the town of Gilford," he said.

According to the website, the castle and its property area has a spectacular view of Lake Winnipesaukee. It was built by 100 Italian stone masons with materials from England and Germany.

It took two years and $50,000 to complete the project, according to the site. "Along with incomparable views and acres of landscaped gardens, there are stone walls that weave around the property all the way to the water."

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