Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Gingerbread Castle, Hamburg, NJ!
Gingerbread Castle! 7On the way home from the Earth Angel Toys held at Charlotte's Tea Room, I wanted to stop off at a place I used to go to as a child called The Gingerbread Castle located in Hamburg, NJ!Gingerbread Castle! 8Tucked away, deep in the countryside of northern New Jersey is a place called The Gingerbread Castle located on Rt. 23 & Gingerbread Castle Rd, Hamburg, Sussex County, NJ. The grounds of the castle started as flour mill built in 1808 called: Wheatsworth Mills,Gingerbread Castle!Gingerbread Castle! 1 then it became something called the Plastoid Corporation. This changing of factories was the result of the unprofitable flour company, so it was turned it into the Plastoid Corporation which was actually a wire and cable factory this sale was actually became the basis for the castle. In 1928 the owners used their wire and plastics to create several plastic dinosaurs which adorned the property. As children came to visit these life sized creatures, the owners added more dinosaurs and finally, they added the Gingerbread Castle which was built hanging off one of the factory walls, evolving into a fairy/story book style amusement park, built in 1930 by F.H. Bennett, inventor of Milk Bone Dog Biscuits and the owner of the Wheatsworth Mills, whose original tiling can still be seen on the stone gate structures today. Mr. Bennett created a life-sized castle to tell the story of "Hansel and Gretel," this painted pink structure would be called: The Gingerbread Castle. He also created additional life sized vignettes which showcased other stories from Mother Goose Rhymes including Humpty Dumpty who sat on his wall,Gingerbread Castle! 4 the park even had a miniature railroad for children to ride and get excited over. Along with fave replicas of Cinderella, Jack and Jill and A Woman Who Lived In A Shoe.Gingerbread Castle! 2During the latter part of the 1980's, the Gingerbread Castle fell into a state of disrepair, this showed the lack of maintenance and care of the castle. Eventually, the property was primarily closed and used only as a haunted house attraction during Halloween, not a fitting event for this once storybook place. This demise seemed so dark and dreery, don't you agree?Gingerbread Castle! 6But around 2002 someone had taken a renewed interest in the property, a man by the name of Frank Hinger who bought the property. Mr. Hinger started a series of fundraisers to help fix and restore the castle to its original state. This restoration project was boosted, by some donations and contributions from the Hampton Inn hotel chain who prompted its workers and other to volunteer work as part of the restoration attemps.Across from Gingerbread Castle! 2The sad thing is Mr. Hinger's attempts to restore the castle failed, so did the structure he built across the street called the Gingerbread Grill. Across from Gingerbread Castle!It just seemed no matter what he did his attempts failed, having resistance from town officials/municipal I'm sure didn't help his cause and efforts, but that is something the public may never know, a battle between parties.

The next measure was to sell off the property to someone who would elaborate on his vision and have the money to do it. In the beginning of 2007, the properties were finally sold, this time to Gene Mulvihill who vowed to not turn the property into condos, townhouses or a strip mall. Gene was quoted in saying: "It's in blood, I won't change the castle," and created the Historic Hamburg LLC, which he is a principal holder in, formed especially for the castle renovation project. He also is a principal holder in Grey Elephant LLC, which own the vacant 15 acre Plastoid Factory site adjacent to the castle. Basically Mr. Mulvihill bought the 1-acre castle site and another 7 acres across from Gingerbread Castle Road that includes a the Gingerbread Castle Grille.

I hope to see a surge in restoration on this historic site, which I believe will be turned into a children's museum and park again, a day I'd love to see and watch come alive. To read more on the sale of this site visit:
http://www.crystalspringsbuilders.com/Content/Articles.asp?SID=1&CID=24&AID=109
To learn more about the Gingerbread Castle and to see old pictures, visit:
http://www.thegingerbreadcastle.com/

13 comments:

candy4me said...

What a magical place and unique story, I sure hope he keeps his word. I would love to visit it one day when is is restored! I never knew it existed! Thank you for the story and pictures! Hugss, Caroline

Such a Wondrous Place this Faery Space said...

Good morning Lisa! Wonderful post! Blessings from Amy

AForestFrolic said...

Oh Lisa, that gingerbread castle looks wonderful! I'd love to bring my girls to visit it and ride the train, they'd be in heaven, tee hee. I'm going to check out the site, thanks for sharing!

I just made a card from one of your free images you posted...

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=25305751

Thanks again! And Mr. Rabbit is sitting in my studio peeking over my computer, tee hee!

Jamie :)

Oh & I have a new blog www.aforestfrolic.com

Birds of a Feather said...

That's what I love about blogs, all these fun places we get to see (maybe someday in real life,) shared by sweet bloggers!

looks like a fun time ~
xo Heidi

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I have been there! It was wonderful - I had not idea it was gone now. I hope they can make it work!

I remember riding the train - and I remember the train conductor in a kind of conductor-cum-mad-hatter costume. Too cool!

Kass said...

That is the cutest place Ive ever seen..Id love to take my grandchild there

JillzWhimzy said...

what a majical place - loved the pics hope to see it someday :0)

kate said...

thanks for sharing another gem of NJ....I had no idea this existed.

OceanDreams said...

What a wonderful place where dreams can come true! I love castles and this one is especially unique. I hope it get restored. Thanks for all of the lovely photos and history behind them!

greeneginger said...

Wow,what a great story and information about such a special place! That is so cool that you went there as a child. I do understand your feelings about it becoming a "Haunted House" but at least Halloween and FairyTales are both very imaginative and creative.
This reminds me a little of the Cleveland Franklin Castle although it was never anything as sweet as The GingerBread Castle!!
I found your blog through OWOH and i am visiting you again!!
Have a great weekend;)

faerie enchantment said...

I hope to one day see this castle come to life again, in its hey day it was such a wonderous place to visit!
xoxox!
Lisa!

Danielle said...

I have the best memories of the Castle! I have photos of my brother and I all over the property. I really hope it is restored someday. I am a fine art photographer and really want to photograph the Castle as an art project. Anyone know how to get in touch with the owner? I'd love to somehow gain access to take photos.

Karen H said...

I didn't know about the castle until they held the haunted house. I was sooo impressed by the building and the grounds that I have never forgotten it. Over the years I've tried to find out if the building was still there. I'm so pleased to have found your site and grateful for the history. Unfortunately, just before I found your site I located another site (thegingerbreadcastle.com) that states the developer did purchase the property in 2007 and true to his word he has not changed a thing. The building has been dormant for years. It's truly said to see such a landmark disappear in our state.