The Kinnelon Castle


Photo by Lost Destinations. Staircase to the 2nd floor bedroom.

Most residents of Kinnelon are familiar with historical landmarks in town such as L’Ecole Museum and St. Hubert’s Chapel, but how many actually know about Untermeyer Mansion, aka the Kinnelon Castle?

It was built in 1920 by millionaire stockbroker, Milton Untermeyer. He built it to resemble a French chateau. In the 1960s there were plans to turn the castle into a winter resort, but it was destroyed by a fire in 1969. The cause of the fire was never established.

Since the fire, the castle was made famous by the magazine, Weird NJ, and has been the subject of many tales. Some claim it is haunted, while others tell tales of an attempted murder.

The castle is located off of Saw Mill Road, and its most recent owner is John Konarski. Konarski purchased the land in 2003 and decided to leave the castle in the backyard in-tact while building his home. The castle is located up a steep hill, most easily accessible to Konarski by his quad.

“The original Castle was 40,000 square feet had a slate roof, stained glass windows, and stone from Europe. Now all that is left is a little bit of the frame, chimneys, and fireplaces,” said Konarski.   On the first floor, black and white tile is still intact and the staircase to the second floor survived the fire but is now overgrown with moss and ivy. The entire inside of the castle is covered with shrubs and poison ivy.  From the castle, you can see the view of Untermeyer’s pond.

As for local legends, Konarski said he never experienced anything supernatural nor did he ever hear any stories. He did say that he heard rumors of an attempted murder at the house.  I googled it and learned that there was an attempt on Untermeyer’s life in 1941 because of a dispute over a gambling debt. However, Untermeyer was not even living in the house at the time.

 Konarski does have future plans for the castle.  He said he hopes to use a part of it to build a greenhouse. In the meantime, he was storing his beehives on the first floor for the purpose of producing honey.