The Gingerbread Castle in Hamburg, NJ

The Gingerbread Castle/House in Hamburg, NJ, is a mythical place I remember visiting as a child — or at least being told that I visited (constructing memories from photographs). While most families went to the Jersey shore or more exotic places like Florida for vacation, my family preferred the woods of Sussex County NJ and local amusements like the glowing rocks of the Franklin Mineral Museum and this Castle. I accidentally drove to it while testing some car repairs in July of 2021.

Gingerbread castle

The castle is small compared to actual castles of Europe or fantasy castles of Disney World & Land. It’s composed of stone, cement, and something like stucco. Colors are true to frostings you would find on a high-end gingerbread castle: white, pink, pastel blue, and ginger. Unlike the mostly rectangular construction of modern gingerbread cracker-based castles, this castle has rounded spires, columns, and very few rectangular parts.

The grounds surrounding the castle feature many public-domain fairy-tale characters like a Dragon, a sassy Humpty Dumpty, and a giant frog.

Looming over the Castle are the remnants of a large mill and factory that made cannonballs during the Revolutionary war, and later flour for troops during the War of 1812. The mill continued to operate and supply ground flour and baked goods to New Jersey up until the 1900s. I’m guessing Gingerbread Castle was made as a way to promote their consumer goods.

Mill and Castle

Both the Castle and Mill are locked up behind a fence and/or plywood and are inaccessible to the general public. Urban explorers might find a way in… maybe Scuba gear, as the first floor of the mill seems to be flooded.

The mill is flooded

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