About This Location
Castle Craig, a towering sentinel atop East Peak in Meriden, Connecticut's Hanging Hills, offers a glimpse into a blend of history, nature, and mystery. Constructed of trap rock and standing at 32 feet tall, this tower, with a base circumference of 58 feet, invites visitors to explore its heights and enjoy expansive views. Rising 976 feet above sea level, the observation deck atop Castle Craig promises breathtaking panoramas of the greater Meriden area and beyond.
Dedicated on October 29, 1900, and gifted to the people of Meriden by philanthropist Walter Hubbard, Castle Craig forms a significant part of the 1,800-acre Hubbard Park, named in honor of its benefactor. This park, meticulously laid out in consultation with the Olmsted Brothers, retains its historic charm and natural beauty, offering a variety of recreational opportunities.
The tower's design, shrouded in debate, is said to draw inspiration from various historical structures worldwide. Some argue it resembles Norman watchtowers along Europe's Rhine River, while others believe its design echoes a 12th-century Turkish tower on the Danube or even a Scottish fortress in Craigellachie.
The dedication day of Castle Craig was marked by a grand celebration, complete with an oyster roast attended by over 250 guests, including Meriden's dignitaries. As clams roasted over an open fire and cheers rang out, the community's appreciation for Hubbard's generosity was palpable.
A plaque at the tower's base commemorates its history and significance, noting its standing as the highest point within 25 miles of the coast from Maine to Florida. From its observation deck, one can see as far as Long Island Sound and even glimpse the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts.
Access to Castle Craig is available through various hiking trails, including the extensive 62-mile Metacomet Trail. For those preferring a less strenuous visit, Reservoir Road welcomes vehicular traffic from May through October, while pedestrians can use it year-round.
The tower has become a part of local legend, particularly the tale of the "Black Dog" of the Hanging Hills. According to myth, seeing this mysterious creature three times brings a sequence of fortune, decline, and eventually, death.
Today, Castle Craig stands not only as a scenic lookout but also as a symbol of Meriden's rich history. Its preservation and the ongoing care of Hubbard Park reflect the community's dedication to maintaining this landmark for future generations. Whether you choose to hike up to the tower or drive, the journey to Castle Craig offers a blend of natural beauty, historical intrigue, and a stunning panoramic reward.