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Castle Hidden in Amherst, NY

8:26 AM, May 11, 2010   |    comments
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Castle hidden in WNY

AMHERST, NY - Once you step onto the grounds, with the stream gurgling and the birds singing in the background, it's easy to let your mind drift back to another time, when dragons roamed the land and damsels found themselves in need of rescuing from yon tower.

But this isn't medieval Europe, it's Amherst, New York and the castle isn't imaginary; it's real. Built in 1917 by a European immigrant and craftsman. The setting is perfect, on a little island, complete with moat and bridge. The castle was modeled after an existing castle in Germany using stones brought in from Holland, New York.

Mildred O'Rourke has spent half her life in the castle, she's 88 and lives here with her son and her sister.

Mildred and her family value their privacy, so we aren't revealing the exact location or shooting inside but they allowed us to show you the beautiful grounds flush with spring and landscaped with stone steps, arches, and bridges. There's the tower, standing watch over the castle itself, and the bridge house, topped by a room warmed by a big fireplace where mildred says men in the family gathered to play cards at night.

In 1956, fire gutted the castle in the middle of the night. All the finely crafted interior collapsed into the basement. Mildred credits her parents with cleaning out the damage and restoring the interior.

So here it is, right in the middle of suburban Buffalo, build on a medieval concept of privacy and security and now a reflection of the best spirit and determination of western New York.

Daybreak fans on Facebook suggested we find out more about the castle. If there's something you've always wondered about, let us know so we can look into it too.

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