Warner Castle – Rochester, New York - Atlas Obscura

Warner Castle

This New York estate was designed to resemble a medieval Scottish castle. 


Warner Castle is a beautiful, often overlooked section of Rochester, New York’s Highland Park.

It was built in 1854 as the private home of Horatio Gates Warner, a wealthy bank president, court judge, and newspaper publisher. The estate was designed to resemble the Clan Douglas castle, which Warner had seen and fallen in love with on a visit to Scotland. He hired architect Merwin Austin to build Warner Castle in the same style, in the middle of a 50-acre farm in Rochester.

Warner lived in the estate until his death in 1876. The castle remained in the Warner family’s possession until 1902, after which property was purchased by several successive private owners, including the Dennis family who added the iconic sunken garden designed by famous landscape artist Alling DeForest in 1912.

The property then served as a sanitarium for 20 years before being acquired by the city of Rochester. Today the castle serves as the headquarters of the Landmark Society of Western New York. While there has been some remodeling since the castle was first built, the interior retains many of its original features including high ceilings, intricate woodwork, and grand staircase in the entry hall.

The inside of the castle is not open to the public, but the grounds, including the beautiful sunken garden, can be visited freely.

The interior will be opened for tours in 2021, once renovations are completed. Visit www.landmarksociety.org and sign up for the Landmark Alerts to be among the first to know when it opens up.

Know Before You Go

The castle grounds are open to the public from 7 a.m. to dusk and there is no charge to enter.

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