Mar 26, 2014
Fit for a King: Historic Connecticut Castle in Cornwall for Sale
(page 2 of 3)
After her first marriage ended in divorce, Charlotte married Walton Martin. The couple decided to build an elaborate country retreat and they set their sights on Cornwall, a place Walton Martin had been visiting for years. Though locals referred to the dwelling the Martins built as a castle, the Martins never did; instead they thought of it as chateau.
However, the Martins did have a grand vision for the structure and property. The castle was designed by architect Edward C. Dean in the Storybook architectural style. More than 100 workers, who were mostly immigrants, were employed to build the castle.
Though Charlotte Martin was likely the ringleader, both husband and wife took part in the fantasy of the estate.
“There are people who still live around here that remember, as kids, seeing Dr. Martin with his long white hair, on a beautiful horse, riding down through the valley with a big red cape,” says Jacobson. “This was a theatrical fantasy for them.”
Later in life, when she was in her 80s, Charlotte Martin wrote a book called “The World and the Aristocrat.” The book details her admiration for the nobility of Europe and what she saw as the duty of the aristocracy to support the arts and inspire people. Jacobson believes the book provides insight into her character. Martin praises the deposed aristocrats of the French Revolution for “holding their heads high on the way to the guillotine.” In another telling passage she writes, “One of the aristocrat’s attributes needed now more than ever, is his endeavor to preserve the culture of the golden gifts of the past.”
More Recently Upon a Time
Charlotte Martin died in 1961. In the decades following her death the castle changed hands several times. In the mid ‘80s it was purchased by Joseph Cicio, who owned it for about five years and now lives in nearby Warren, Conn. At the time, the castle was in need of repair, and though Cicio was a top executive with Macy’s in New York City he says money was still tight for him.
“It was total insanity for me to buy it. I think I was left with nothing in my bank account,” recalls Cicio.