I received E-Mail that said:

When I was a child ('50-'60's) there was a castle in the Watchung, NJ area which was called (phonetically) Maul-Dinky's Castle. I understand that it was originally from ?Bavaria? and was purchased and moved to the US Southwest, perhaps Lake Havasu or Lake Tahoe, in the late '60's/early '70's. Do you have any information about it?

Later, I received more E-Mail that said:

I remember that castle well. it was called the moldenke castle. I have two newspaper articles from 1969 about it with photos. at that time it was called a white elephant and the family that owned it sold the property to a land developer. the castle was badly vandalized; I was about 7 at the time and had occasion to go inside with my parents. they were drawn by a number of cars parked by the castle and people coming in and out. these were mostly teenagers, hippies my dad would call them. mostly they were busy smashing the contents left behind inside. there was a grand piano thrown down one of the staircases and delft tilework torn off the walls and smashed. shortly thereafter the castle was gutted by fire and then torn down for a housing development. this was truly a terrible ending for a very beautiful and stately looking castle.

Acording to the newspaper article, the castle burned on Oct 26, 1969. It was scheduled to be torn down anyway. To bad buildings like this can't be saved.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

The Moldenke castle in New Jersey was built by my husband's great-uncle (or perhaps great-great uncle). It was modeled closely on the Castle Elsinore in Denmark. It was indeed vandalized and burned, not moved to Lake Havasu (that was London Bridge).

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I lived there with my family during the '40's and '50's. The Watchung Library on Valley Road, Watchung, N.J. has the best collection of information on the Castle, especially from the Moldenke family.

The loss of the Castle is enormous. For example, the three-foot thick walls of concrete were hand-mixed by a man with one arm! Around 1949, I met the grand niece of this man at a slumber party in Warren Township!

The Castle's great treasures were historical, not monetary. There were chandeliers made of Civil War rifles, and a blunderbus of the Revolutionary War, carved with the soldier's name & date. I could go on, but it was so sad to learn what happened to that wonderful piano and the Delft (Dutch) tiles in the kitchen. Too bad that the American Historical Presevation Society was not formed yet. No cheers for the developers!

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

My grandfather, not a Moldenke descendant, was the owner of Moldenke's Castle between 1942 and the time it was burned in 1969. He was a research scientist and had his laboratory in it. My father lived in it for at least 10 years until he graduated high school. I'm not sure if he lived there at all when he went to college. I saw it in person as a child, but only have vague memories of it. However, I distinctly remember that the cannon on the turret by the garage was an original from 'Old Ironsides' herself, The USS Constitution. I got to see and touch and real cannon ball while I was there. As an adolescent, my father got his picture in the front page of a local paper for building a tree house 60' high in a pine tree on the property. Today, there are a few expensive homes clustered together on the site where the castle was off of Washington Valley Rd. The pine tree was still there last I checked.

If anyone has more information, or would be interested in exchanging stories, please contact me at
Thank you. - Dwight

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

My father was one of the developers who bought the castle. Contrary to popular belief, they went far to preserve it. They offered it to the town of Watchung for free, but the council refused it unless my father and his partners completely renovated it first. We have some absolutely fantastic professionally taken photos of the castle before it was taken down as well as pics of it being knocked down.

We lived in Watchung most of our life, my sister still lives there. There is also a home which still exists across from the castle on Valley Road we lived in called the Villa Elsinore, it is stamped on concrete posts for horses to tie up to. There were several tunnels there that were blocked off but were suppose to lead to the castle. The house was suppose to be the servants home at one time and the house is absolutely great as well. 14 foot ceilings on the first and second floor, grand staircase, 12 foot oak pocket doors and more. The people who now live there bought it from us and are still close friends. Boy I remember that castle as my childhood playground, LOTS of memories!

On 10-5-06, I received E-Mail that said:

I wanted to add a few more recollections of Moldenke Castle. Like many who've sent you email, I lived near by the Castle, across the main road. I saw the tower while passing by many times. I never visited the Castle, but some of my family have.

What I wanted to mention about all this was some of the controversy that surrounded the end of its days. I know this was in the local paper, the Echo Sentinal, but I can't say I remember the story exactly. The jist of it was that the last owner of the property was very old and feeble. He had some kind of friend or caretaker who took care of him, but supposedly took advantage. After he died, and against his wishes, the property was sold off to developers. I recall there was some effort to keep the castle, but I don't recall why it fell through.

On 10-16-07, I received E-Mail that said:

I remember my Dad driving by this "Castle" and telling us stories about playing there as a child. He's 80 years old now but this is what he recently told my brother.

I spoke to Dad last night and heard his story about Moldenke Castle. He and his friends were riding their bikes near the Moldenke Castle in Wachung . They parked their bikes outside the gates and walked across a bridge to look at the castle. A guy came out of the castle (they think he was the caretaker) and shot a rifle in the air to scare them. They ran but the bridge lifted up like a drawbridge and they had to wade through the stream to get back to their bikes and ride off.

On 3-21-09, I received e-mail that said:

I have a nice picture to add to your Moldenke castle section. Moldenke castle was on Valley Road in Watchung NJ. My friend's dad was one of the developers. We were in high school at the time and remember being with Mike to chase off vandals. They would come in broad daylight to steal and vandalize anything. Even stealing the lead from the windows.

On 7-23-10, I received e-mail that said:

My father recently passed away and we found a letter he wrote to my mother in 1968 that never got sent. There were three pictures of a castle inside. I wanted to find out more about the castle and came across your site. From reading, I gather it was on Valley Road, but I'm still curious to its exact former location.

On 4-11-11, I received e-mail that said:

Hi, I just came upon your site and enjoyed reading the many stories of Moldenke's Castle. I remember going there as a child of 7 or 8, right before it was to be sold to developers. I, too, remember the cannon and the grand piano in the stairway. There were alot of people there that day but I don't remember the year. I also remember my mom bringing some tools and chiseling out 2 or 3 tiles, blue and white, that were later tiled into the upstairs bathroom that was being built at a house that we moved into the next year on Vail Lane in Watchung. I have thought about that day throughout my life and often wondered if those tiles are still there in that upstairs bathroom. I have also always loved castles throughout my life and enjoyed many medieval lectures in the history department at Douglass College in the 80's.

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3rd photo courtesy of Rich Fussell.
4th photo courtesy of Joanie Reilly.