View of Dicks' Castle from the river.

I received E-Mail that said in part:

New York on the Hudson River across from the US Military Academy at West Point, NY. You can see the tips of the turrets from West Point. This is supposedly the castle that they used for the Wizard of Oz movie (the original movie).

I later received more E-Mail that said:

I know the castle the person was talking about - can see turrets from West Point. I have always wondered about it since I was very young and I would visit my Aunt & Uncle in GARRISON, NY. I always thought it looked like the castle in Wizard of Oz. Recently I traveled on Route 9D in Garrison (after Bear Mountain Bridge), it has been a long time since I've stared at that castle wondering who owned it or what it's story is. So, I asked my relatives.

Good news for your friend who E-mailed you, it is in fact the castle used in the Wizard of Oz; the castle of the wicked witch of the West (oh we oh! we owe her!) . My cousin went there because she knew someone & she said there were signs saying "Beware of Snakes" etc. etc. However the castle is privately owned by the Osborne family. You can drive up to the gates/entrance but no farther. You can get a good look at the castle from Route 9D but I hope your readers will respect the wishes and privacy of the owners & not try to visit the castle.

I later received E-Mail that said:

As taken directly from the very slick 1995 Sotheby's International Realty brochure:

(Houlihan & Lawrence in Bedford was the affiliate representing the sale at the time however they no longer do so - yet it still is on the market)
Location: Garrison, New York
Property: 33 acres with panoramic vistas from the Bear Mountain Bridge to Storm King Mountain. The land has 1/3 of a mile of road frontage and is bounded on the north by Indian Brook. Stone walls line the grassy walkway to the property's entrance.

Residence: white washed Moorish-styled castle encompassing 35,000 sq. ft on 3 principal floors, plus 10,000 sq. ft of basement /work areas. The home includes an arched courtyard [known as the 'Lion's Courtyard'], turreted towers, romantic balconies, and sumptuous spaces reminiscent of a grander era. Specifically it boasts 25 fireplaces, 150 windows, and a 86' high tower.

The Castle: Originally the dream of financier Evans P. Dick, The Castle at Garrison was intended as a home to rival the great residences of Hyde Park. The site was acquired in the 1880s, and construction began in 1903, following a design inspired by the Alhambra of Granada, Spain. One hundred laborers were imported to work on the structure which stretched 175' long and 220' deep. In 1907, however financial reversals terminated the project. [The property was then purchased in the 1920's by the Chimera (sp?) family who planned on using it as a staging grounds to build radios for the government - those plans failed - and it was never occupied as a residence]

Thereafter, the structure stood incomplete until 1979 when the Dia Arts Foundation (NYC) acquired it and carried out a program of major structural reinforcement. [The intended use of it as a significant modernist art gallery never made it and the Foundation for all it's investment never used it].

In 1986, The Castle was sold to new owners, who employed 17 skilled artisans from Poland to renovate it, investing $2.5 million in 1990 for a new stucco exterior, Spanish tile roof [an almost brown/orange color], mahogany double- glazed European windows and doors, extensive restored detail, and numerous other improvements. The new owners stopped their work in 1992 [bankruptcy?], leaving the interior largely undivided and WITHOUT HEATING, COOLING, PLUMBING, or ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS, but structurally sound, weather-tight, and ready to be configured to suit the purchaser's specific needs.

The excellent reference (1996) book "Hudson River Guidebook" talks about The Castle in brief, even more so in detail with the widely popular and available 1996 book "Architectural Folly's in America". As for the seemingly popular attribution to the Wizard of Oz I really don't see it whatsoever. The Castle is not reminiscent of anything in that movie (in my humble opinion) nor do any published reports I've seen give credibility to such claims.

Later, more E-Mail:

All I have to add to Dick's Castle is: 23 stone fireplaces, 86 feet of height, cast concrete construction, original construction abandoned in 1911 after only half of the original budget of $7 mil. had been spent. The next owner was Anton Chmela, president of General Quartz Laboratories, who purchased it in 1944 from the Dick family and converted the service wing into living quarters for his family. After Mrs. Chmela's death in 1979, it was purchased by the Dia Art Foundation.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

Hi. I would hate to break the news to the person that swore that Dick's Castle in Garrison, NY was the castle originally filmed in the Wizard of Oz, but it is not. The Osbourns had the castle up the route 9d, the Osboune castle, high, high up on a hill, barely visible from the road. The Castle, or Garrison castle known to many, has been abandoned for quite some time. It went through the hands of several families, before I purchased the estate. There are many stories about this estate, and I can assure you, that most of them are false, this estate was Not the witches castle in the movie, Wizard of Oz.

Later, more E-Mail:

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I recall back in the middle 1960s a friend rented the Dick's Castle Court Yard and front lawn, from the Chmela's to hold a Middle Summer Eve Party. Originally it was supposed to be a Halloween thing, but October in the Hudson Valley does not lend to outdoor evening parties. He hired a DJ, flood lite the area and they danced well into the night. What a Bash. Probably there had not been that many people gathered there at one time since when the castle was being built. The Party was restricted to outside, as the major part of the Castle was very unsafe in the dark with open holes in the floor where the stairways would have been located. It was definitely a one of a kind successful event that I'll never forget.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

Yes, Anton Chmela was one of the owners of Dick's Castle. He had it renovated quite a bit when he bought it. He now lives...yes...still living...down here in the Brevard, North Carolina area. He's 97 now and still coherent and mobile. It was just good to see you mentioned him and his late wife in your web site. He is a dear friend and fellow scientist.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

In the early 60s when I was a child my father would take us to Dicks Castle almost weekly on our way to my Grandmothers. There were Large Signs every where for the Castle, and we were always greeted by the same very nice man that lived there, with his family. He would give us a tour for maybe a $1.00. He grew to like us, but here's my question, The Dicks Castle that we were going to in say 1963 wasn't completed, is this possible, and who was this Man? A Care taker? he was always working, I've been around every inch of that property I remember it like it was yesterday, I still only live about 50 miles from there, Any Feedback?

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

Just a quick note that Dicks Castle (Garrison NY) is getting a web site. It will be fully functional in a few weeks: http://www.thecastleatgarrison.com

Later, I received e-Mail that said:

My uncle, Anton Chmela, owned Dick's Castle from 1944 until 1980. WWII was nearing the end and my Uncle, a tool & die maker originally trained by Bell Labs (now Lucent Technologies) in NYC, had provided the US Military thru government contracts with specialized quartz crystal cuttings for radio transmitters from his company, American Quartz Laboratories in Irvington-on-Hudson NY, which ran 24-7. He was living in a Bavarian-style stone home he had built in Yonkers NY.

One day he took a trip further up the Hudson Valley and discovered the timeless Hudson Highlands (Bear Mountain to Storm King Mountain, and home of West Point) and it reminded him of his birthplace in Austria-Hungary, of Slovak heritage. He bought the then deserted and derelict Dick's Castle on a ridge overlooking West Point with a Top-Of-The-World view including 125 acres, two tudor-type homes and a stone Victorian barn in the lower end of the property (where the original owners, the Dick's lived during Castle construction) and historic Indian Falls on Indian Brook which flows into the Hudson River at Constitution Island!

First he moved his tool and die shop into the basement level of the huge servant's wing, built an out-house and camped out in the building in the first level of a tower we called the "round room". Eventually, in the early 1950's, he moved his wife and two young children from Yonkers to the Castle and there began a 30-year odyssey. He renovated only parts of the building as living space and for his successful tool & die and other businesses over the years. The Castle became the large family gathering place (he was one of 10)...the nieces and nephews got to spend time there with his children, all growing up in this incredible dream-world...We learned to drive on his bulldozers on the dirt roads throughout his forest before progressing to the 1942 Dodge Truck. We swam under the falls in the ravine. My older brother at 14 built a shooting range. Watched July 4th fireworks up and down the Hudson from the patios and barbecued in the courtyard. My Aunt Helen (also Slovak born in the Old Country) roasted turkeys in a wood stove and tended the many gardens and pets. We picked raspberries in the huge-as-a-house patch..we climbed cherry trees and my Aunt preserved everything. My Uncle drove us to Radio City Music Hall in his huge Cadillac to see Sophia Loren in "Boy on a Dolphin".

We grew up in the 50's and 60's and our bohemian Aunt and Uncle just turned us loose! Many people drifted up the road over the years and became their friends. My Uncle would allow folks from New York City to come up on the train and camp on his property! One email you printed talks about this "nice man who showed them around for $1 and was always working"...what a great description of my Uncle! My Aunt Helen died in 1978 and in 1980 My Uncle sold the Castle to the Dia Art Foundation who owned it only briefly. My Uncle relocated a few years later to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina where he still lives and putters in his own home, nearing 99 in September!

He just flew up to North Jersey to bury my 90-year old father, his baby brother. He played his harmonica and sang at the reception. He is the last man standing. We are planning a 100th Birthday Celebration. He has enjoyed an extraordinary life and savors every moment still. Next week, four of the "first cousins" including his daughter will spend a week at the Jersey Shore as we have done for ten years now. It's been 23 years but we all still miss the Castle. I can still hear the bell bouy at West Point, the marching drumbeat when the wind was right, my Aunt calling my name "Zuzan" in her broken accent as it echoed thru the building, and all the relatives and friends. I still have dreams about standing on the long patio hanging off the river side or in those huge upper windows and getting lost in that unbelievable view, wishing to become a bird. I will see my Uncle in October in North Carolina where I have rented a house that hangs off a 4000' mountain in Little Switzerland, 40 miles east of Asheville with Blue Ridge Parkway views...

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

Dick's Castle wasn't used in the wizard of oz. My Uncle, Anton Chmela, owned it from the 1940's to 1980. Used it as a machine shop and lived/ raised his family there also. His radio work with the government was done in a shop in Yonkers.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

Dr. Anton Chmela, previous owner of Dicks Castle passed on 24 Feb. 2004 at the age of 99.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I was reading the local paper this morning and came upon an article about Dick's Castle in Garrison, NY. It seems it was bought by a developer and is now being turned into 6 condos. They will be sold starting at the bargain price of $2mil. I've included the link to the story in the Journal News. http://www.thejournalnews.com/newsroom/073104/a01p31castle.html

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I may be wrong, but I believe the name of "Dick's Castle" in Garrison New York is actually spelled "DIX".

On 6-22-09, I received e-mail that said:

My family used to stop by Dick's castle in the late 50's-early 60's when it was basically just a shell. I remember the nice man that someone mentioned and also having lemonade outside the castle that was very good. I never heard that the castle was used for The Wizard of Oz, but that it was used for a gangster movie made in the 40's or 50's. You never see much of the castle, just the great view of the Hudson from there. I think it starred Alan Ladd and may have been called Castle on the Hudson or something similar

On 1-5-11, I received e-mail that said:

Here are some links to new photos of Dick's Castle.



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River view picture courtesy of Kris Pocaro.