The Castle when….

In 1896, Russell Sturgis, an American architect and art critic of the late 1800s and 1900s described the Castle, at the time still a private home, as “….. one of the best pieces existing of the peculiar Romanesque sculpture of semi-Byzantine character which Mr. Richardson’s work introduced to this community.”

This summer, at Nobles, the Castle has been on everybody’s mind, while we have observed, day by day, the progress of the renovation and addition to the iconic building of our school.

When the students return, in less than two weeks, they will appreciate the beautiful addition to the dining room.

In the last few days, I have walked around the Castle several times, marveling again at its beauty. As always my mind returns to the times when it was a private home: the Riverdale Estate of the Nickerson Family.

In every home, fireplaces have a special place, both practical and symbolic. And so is in the Castle. My favorite one was located “in a small reception room, finished in beautiful satinwood” (as described in the sale brochure of the Riverdale Estate). That room was not as familiar to everybody as most of the public rooms, it was indeed a hidden gem. Modern necessities and building code requirements have turned the room into an elevator lobby.

But the beauty of the fireplace has not been lost. Everybody will be able to admire it in a corner of the new addition where it has been moved:  hidden gem no longer.

Small reception room at the Riverdale Estate in Dedham

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