Just west of Rutland in the sleepy town of Proctor is Wilson Castle, an authentic English manor. Built by Dr. John Johnson in 1867 with the help of English architects, they constructed 19 buildings complete with gables and towers. The finished castle was three stories high with 32 rooms, 13 fireplaces, and 84 stained glass windows. Animals collected from around the world roamed the 115 acre estate.
Dr. Johnson built the estate with his wife's money, a wealthy invalid he had seduced into marriage. The castle was repossessed when his wife died, and Johnson was penniless-- unable to afford taxes or maintenance. Antiques and valuables were taken by unpaid employees, and auctioned off at a fraction of their value. Locals began to call the castle, "Johnson's Folly."
The estate changed hands 16 times, until 1939 when Colonel Herbert Wilson purchased the estate. A retired Army officer, and extensive traveler, Wilson renovated the castle and filled it with objects of art. Five generations of the Wilson family have called the castle home since Herbert Wilson purchased it. The castle was opened to the public in 1962 due to public curiosity, and continues to offer tours.
Follow signs from Route 3 in Proctor.
The Wilson Castle is open daily from Memorial Day (late May) to Columbus Day (mid-October).