Later, I received E-Mail that said:
In 1903, a New York City doctor named Rudolph H.E. Gudewill bought land in Greenwood Lake and built a castle for his wife, Fanny. The final work was actually a series of buildings. There are two castles on opposite sides of a lagoon. One building is a large mansion; the other is a guest house. Both are made from thin slate tiles stacked in mortar. The main building has a series of medieval rooftop battlements and a tower.
"We hear that he had it fashioned after his father's castle in Germany," says Gen Winstanley, a longtime Greenwood Lake resident. "He had artisans brought here from Europe specifically for the project." In 1946, Dr. Gudewill died and, after years of probate troubles, the property was sold to John Tiedemann – a resident of Jersey City, N.J. – for $15,000. That was 1952.
Looking back, the property was ideal, said Tiedemann's daughter, Frances Trumper, a Greenwood Lake resident. The Tiedemanns had a large family – she was one of 13 children. John and Julia Tiedemann adopted Sonny Connors in the 1950s and raised him as one of their own. "His parents died and my family knew him from around the community, so we took him in," Trumper said. "People used to do those sorts of things back then."
Sonny Connors ultimately married Dorothy Tiedemann, a cousin, and she gave birth to a daughter, Dorothy Connors. She married Charles Jeter and gave birth to a son, Derek Jeter. In 1996, the Tiedemann family trust sold the property to two New Jersey-based investors who later defaulted on the mortgage, and that, in turn, sent the property back into litigation. That suit was settled in November 2002 and the family found itself looking for another buyer. That's when the Jeters expressed an interest.
Greenwood Lake – All-star Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter and his family have purchased his grandfather's childhood home – a local landmark called the Tiedemann Castle – and are moving forward with sweeping renovations of the 100-year-old property. For the past century, the Tiedemann Castle has been a building local artists painted and photographers used for postcards. It's been home to two prominent local families: the Gudewills and the Tiedemanns. Now, the property belongs to Jeter and his family. The Jeters have had longtime – and sentimental – ties to the old estate: It is the childhood home of Jeter's maternal grandfather, William "Sonny" Connors.
The Tiedemann Castle – prime real estate on the western shore of Greenwood Lake – has been empty for months. Chain link fences and "No Trespassing" signs guard the haggard estate. At one time, it was a single-family home that was later converted into apartments. Today, the weeds are tall, the lawns unkempt and the lagoon so laden with algae that the white feathers of a pair of nesting swans are tinged green. Not for long. "The idea is to restore the Tiedemann Castle to its original majesty," says Robert Krahulik, the Warwick attorney working with the family.
According to plans submitted to the Town of Warwick, the Jeter family – which declined to comment on the project – plans to gut the existing buildings, improve the 2.7-acre lot, restore a stone walking bridge and dredge the lagoon. A guest house, a caretaker's house, a garage and a boat house will all be restored. But the most noticeable work will be done to the primary residence – known locally as "the castle" – a dark slate tile building with medieval buttresses and battlements. That building will be restored to a single-family home, the stone work will be reappointed and additions will be made. Inside, the remodeled residence will have at least eight bedrooms – including two master bedroom suites – six bathrooms, two kitchens, a game room, a bar, a media room, two sun porches and several other living and meeting rooms. While planning for the project has been under way for some months, the identity of the owners was kept hush-hush.
According to Orange County real estate records, an Ohio holding company called Greenwood Lake Properties purchased the Tiedemann Castle for $425,000 in February 2003. The transaction was done without real estate agents and the Jeters don't appear on any of the legal documents. Since then, two building permits have been approved by the Town of Warwick. It was during an April meeting of the town Planning Board that the Jeter family revealed its ties to the property: Derek Jeter's parents – Charles and Dorothy Jeter – appeared as representatives for Greenwood Lake Properties. As for their connection to the estate, Derek Jeter's grandfather, William "Sonny" Connors, was the adopted son of John and Julia Tiedemann.
On 8-26-07, I received E-Mail that said:
My grandmother was a Tiedemann and I have spent a lot of weekends at "The Castle", Yes it IS a castle, The first floor had the kitchen, dinning room and my Uncle John's private room. The other 3 floors were bedrooms (33 in all) and bathrooms. There were 2 other buildings on the property that were apartments for some of Uncle John's sons.
I'm not sure I consider this a castle. It's sort of on the fence between a castle and a mansion.
Back to "Castles of the United States"
Sent in by Sean Dermond.
Second photo courtesy of Pattie.