March 4, 2024

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Five buildings built with love

In reality, this small castle is the boathouse of Bolt Castle, a property built by a hotelier for his wife.

In reality, this small castle is the boathouse of Bolt Castle, a property built by a hotelier for his wife.

IMAGO/Pond5 Images


Great gesture5 Impressive Homes Built with Love

Palaces, villas, mansions: We show you five buildings that were not only houses, but also symbols of love.

Meredith Steiger

Love moves not only mountains but also foundations: there are many buildings around the world that were built by their builders out of love. From a Scottish mansion in Malaysia to a fairytale castle in Italy, each of these five homes tells a love story – both happy and sad.

Thornwood Castle, Washington State

This 500-year-old building is still dedicated to love today: it's one of the most popular wedding venues in Washington DC. It was built by Chester Thorne, who gave it to his wife. Although Thornwood Castle has only existed in Lakewood, Washington since the turn of the 20th century, it is made of bricks from an authentic 15th-century English mansion, which was shipped brick by brick and rebuilt to resemble the original.

Kelly's Fort, Malaysia

There's a slightly less sweet story behind this Scottish mansion in Malaysia: it's nearly 100 years old and was owned by Scottish rubber planter and tin industrialist William Kelly-Smith, a well-known expatriate. He moved with his wife, however, he missed his homeland very much. Kelly-Smith rebuilt a Scottish castle at Batu Gajah to ease his domestic position. Construction was delayed by the Spanish flu and Kelly-Smith died of pneumonia. His family returned to Scotland, and the half-finished mansion was now in ruins.

Petit Trianon, France

It is probably one of the most famous buildings built with love: the Petit Trianon in the park of Versailles. King Louis XV built it in the mid-18th century for his lover, Madame de Pompadour. Unfortunately, the young woman, whose real name was Jean-Antoinette Poisson, died shortly before the end. Louis XV had no problem: he gave the house to his latest lover, 19-year-old Marie Antoinette.

Bolt Castle, New York

Fort Bolt was built between 1894 and 1904 on Hart Island on the US-Canada border. It was founded by German George C., lessee and operator of the famous Waldorf-Astoria hotels. Built by Bolt. He wanted to impress his wife Louise: it was to be the largest and most beautiful private home in North America, modeled after a six-story European castle. However, in the same year that construction should have been completed, Louis died unexpectedly. Bolt quit the few remaining jobs and left the island – and reportedly never returned. The castle sat in decay until 1977, when it underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, but was intentionally left unfinished. Today it is a tourist attraction.

Torresciara Castle, Italy

A sign of love – and cheating? The Castello di Torrechiara is located in the province of Burma and is said to be a symbol of the love between Bianca Pellegrini and Pier Maria II d'Rossi. However, at the time the two met, each was married to a different person. Pierre built the castle in 1446 for his lover, Bianca. It is considered one of the most significant, dramatic and best preserved palaces in Italy and is now used for cultural events such as theatre.

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