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Visiting Hammond Castle north of Boston is like taking a short trip to Europe

Gloucester's Hammond Castle Museum features European touches dating back centuries
Gloucester's Hammond Castle Museum features European touches dating back centuries 02:59

GLOUCESTER - There's a hidden gem on the Massachusetts coast, north of Boston, that's working to become unhidden. The Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester is a sprawling estate tucked against the rocky coastline that looks like a castle through the ages, from 11th century France to the Renaissance. 

Who was John Hays Hammond, Jr.?

John Hays Hammond Jr. had the the castle built from 1926 to 1929. He imported several pieces from Europe to add authenticity to the structure. A fascinating figure, Hammond was also a scientist and inventor.

"He has over 510 patents," Linda Harvey, the museum's executive director, told WBZ-TV. "He worked on things like robotics and guided missiles. He's known as the father of radio control."

Hammond held many lavish gatherings at the castle. The Great Hall was the main setting .The large, long room with cathedral ceilings is home to many of his prized possessions.

The Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts. CBS Boston

What's inside Hammond Castle?

"Art, artifacts, history, this room really has it all," said tour guide Donovan LaFontaine. "Artifacts in this room sometimes dating back as far as the third century, all the way up to the big 15th century Renaissance period as well."

The adjoining courtyard features actual middle age storefronts imported from France, an indoor pool and a Roman sarcophagus. The dining room has 19th century Spanish tiles with antique walls and ceiling panels.

Gardner Museum similarities

If the description reminds you of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, you aren't wrong. The two knew each other and were good friends. Like her estate-turned museum, Hammond Castle is a magnificent, yet quirky, attraction reflective of its owner.

"We want you to enjoy it with the richness of the building itself, but also to maybe pick up a few interesting facts along the way," Harvey told WBZ.

Harvey also said the museum is constantly looking for ways to connect with the community. It features seasonal, temporary exhibitions and hosts about 100 weddings a year. Adult tickets cost $20 and there are discounts for seniors and children.

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