A historic stone castle stands in Highland Park. As the only castle in Rochester, Warner Castle is a unique architectural treasure within the city. At this time of year, the limestone-encased beauty is complemented by snow and a sense of serenity. It holds a botanical library and a sunken garden.
Built in 1854, the castle showcases mid-19th century Scottish influences, such as high ceilings, walnut woodwork, and a grand staircase in the entry hall. The Landmark Society of Western New York, which operates from inside of the castle, specifically pinpoints the castle’s architectural style to that of Scottish Clan Douglas’ ancestral castle. There seem to be many architectural structures that belong to the Clan, but none of them strictly resemble the Warner Castle. In that case, it appears that the Warner Castle was given a unique touch by taking on ideas of the other castles and creating its own hybrid.
Ownership of the castle was passed down the Warner family line until 1902, when Horatio Warner sold the home. The famous sunken garden was constructed under the second non-familial owner. From 1944, the residence served as a sanitarium until the city of Rochester bought the property in 1951. Since then it has been a part of the Highland Park Conservancy and the garden is free to the public. Indoor tours of the castle were once permitted, but ended when the castle became a center for the Landmark Society.
Regardless, the castle and its garden are still scenic enough to make you feel swept up into a fairytale land. Many choose to take their prom and/or wedding pictures in this location because of the magical background that it provides. Although the site is now covered in snow, its revival in the spring and flourishing greens in the summer add another layer to its mesmerizing feeling.