Stollmeyer’s Castle is one of the famous Magnificent Seven, which are a group of historic buildings situated on the Western side of the Queen’s Park Savannah. Although the average Trinidadian would be hard-pressed to name all seven of these architecturally beautiful specimens, almost everyone can identify Stollmeyer’s Castle as being among them. This is probably because ‘The Castle’, as it was affectionately nicknamed by the American Forces during their occupation of Trinidad in the early 1940s, is certainly the most unique of all seven buildings.
Its construction began in 1902 was completed at the start of 1904. The design of Stollmeyer’s Castle is predominantly Scottish. It was conceptualized by a Scottish architectural firm Taylor and Gilles and is said to be fashioned after a wing of Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The cost of construction is estimated at $80,000.
J Newel Lewis in “David Frost Introduces Trinidad and Tobago” describes the architecture of this proud building thus:
“…magnificently built, using difficult materials. It is a triumph of good construction and bizarre architecture. The hard stonework is beautifully cut square and dressed to fit all the slopes, which meant a lot of selection and hacking. This battle resulted in a tight, pale, brittle building, dry and laconic, sombre and tense. It is Scottish in its narrow verticality - French influenced - and no doubt, German in intent…”
Although The Castle is undoubtedly Scottish in the main, there are several other influences present in the design, from ceilings made of plaster of Paris, Italian marble on the floors and of course, the various hardwoods used throughout the home were harvested locally and imported from Guyana.
Ownership of Stollmeyer’s Castle throughout the Years
Stollmeyer’s Castle was originally intended to be the retirement home of Charles Fourier Stollmeyer and his wife Elizabeth (previously Gumbleton). However, when the grand home was complete Mrs. Stollmeyer found it much too overwhelming for her simple taste and instead prompted her husband to pass it on to their only son, Conrad C. Stollmeyer, as a wedding present.
The young Stollmeyer’s were therefore the home’s first occupants. The new Mrs. Stollmeyer named the home ‘Killarney’ which is a town in southwestern Ireland. They lived their entire lives there. Conrad Stollmeyer died in 1965 and his widow passed on in 1969. The Castle then passed on to their son Dr. John Stollmeyer. Dr. Stollmeyer held on to the home only for a short while before selling it to an insurance executive Jesse Mahabir in 1972 for $215,000. Mr. Mahabir maintained ownership until it was bought by the Trinidad and Tobago government in 1979.
Current Use of Stollmeyer’s Castle
Stollmeyer’s Castle is now marketed as a tourist attraction and is open for sightseeing visits.