Sunday, 12 August 2004
The Man Who Needed A Music Room
CREDIT: © Margaret & Eric Anderson/Anderson's America
WHERE: Magnolia, Massachusetts, USA. WHAT: wealthy inventor's play pen.
MAP: New England. Thumbnails  pop-up source pages.
When asked why he built the castle seen behind Norman's Woe in yesterday's feature, owner John Hays Hammond, Jr. (1888-1965) is said to have explained that he was interested in organs and needed some space to build one. Hammond was an inventor with over eight hundred patents and four hundred inventions to his credit. He was acknowledged to be the 'Father of Radio Control', a technology that eventually led to the development of missile and rocket guidance systems.
Though he did build a ten thousand pipe organ in his home, he was not the inventor of the brand of electronic organ that coincidentally bears the same name. The castle organ was the used in of series of recordings by Virgil Fox, which have come to be considered classic legacies. Pictures, taken at the time of Fox's 1975 residence, may show how the place looked a decade earlier in Hammond's lifetime.
We were unable to make contact with the official web site at HammondCastle.org of what was built as a tax write-off museum, but author John Dandola, some of whose books are based at the castle, has three  pages full of information. [NB: the web site's page navigation links may not work in your platform/browser combination; our links seemed more robust when tested.] A biography written by Dandola, which is entitled 'Living in the Past, Looking to the Future: The Biography of John Hays Hammond, Jr.', was published in February 2004 after several years of dispute.
The pictures in our thumbnail strip gallery come from the 'Anderson's America' online travelog feature by Margaret & Eric Anderson — sadly Margaret died in early 2003, but we are pleased to report that Eric has continued the series. The Anderson tour continues onward from Hammond Castle, with two  more pages visiting other New England castles with equally interesting owners.
For external pictures of the castle we visited Michael Goderre at his PBase gallery, and chose five  images, including two that show Norman's Woe. Despite exhaustive research we were unable to discover who Norman was, or what was his woe, though some kind of nautical mishap seems likely.
Visitors whose interest in this area has been piqued, may enjoy an illustrated online presentation by Joseph E. Garland: 'Gloucester Guide: Stroll Through Place & Time'. In the foreword, "…I decline to be stampeded", is a reassuring introduction.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)