Castles and plantations and all sorts of dominions

A note that a Massachusetts “castle” in the Berkshires is for sale caught my eye today. The Searles Castle is a bonafide antique, at least by Berkshires standards, having been built in 1915. It’s pretty, but there’s no real history there, and I can’t help but hope that some fabulously wealthy magnate picks it up. Great Barrington needs more eccentrics-in-residence.

I have sort of the opposite feeling about Carter’s Grove. When I was in high school, the plantation was still being run as a historical center by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; it was actually an extra credit trip for us in US History in high school, and I have a few halcyon memories of visits with classmates (hi Andrew, Unchu, Jim, Paul) and family. Of course it also houses one of the oldest graveyards of victims of conflict between Native Americans and English colonists, the remnants of the Martin’s Hundred settlement.

Which makes its being up for sale all the sadder. As of the end of last year, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation decided that defraying its deficit required selling the property. Yesterday I saw an ad in the UVA Alumni Magazine for the site. The sale includes a pretty restrictive covenant that protects the “site’s historic, architectural, visual, archeological and environmental resources.” And yet. It’s fairly horrifying thinking of this early gravesite passing into private hands and disappearing from public access.