Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lambert Castle

The story of Lamberts is a rags to riches tale of an immigrant. Catholina Lambert was born in England, the eldest son of mill workers. Aunt Barbara Berberich took us to Lambert Castle during our tour of Paterson history.

Catholina went to school until he was 10, then he was sent to work in the mills. Fortunately the mill owner recognized some spark in him and sent him on a 7-year apprenticeship, where he learned about the business side of running a mill. Then he and his brother went to America where there was a greater chance for success. Within 6 years (by the time he was 23) he was a successful new American citizen and married into a socially prominent family. Not bad for the son of mill workers. In Paterson he built and ran very successful silk mills.

He designed the castle after castles he saw growing up in England. He filled it with masterpieces. Tough times hit (such as the great fire of 1902) and he sold most of those masterpieces. Throughout the castle are pictures of what it looked like in his day-- hardly an inch of wall space was visible behind the art.

Seven of their eight children died before he did at the age of 89 -- the eldest of those dying at the age of 40, others in infancy and childhood. His son sold the castle to the town of Paterson in 1925.

It is a self-guided tour, with the aid of a pamphlet. My aunt said in December they take out all of the artwork and furnishings and host a giant marketplace. When we were there the third floor was covered with Civil War memorabilia, including U.S. Grant's death mask and many photographs. There were guide books to help trace local Civil War genealogy.

No comments:

Post a Comment