Heublein Tower

Simsbury, Connecticut
The Heublein Tower, standing at an impressive height of 165 feet, is a historic landmark situated atop Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury, Connecticut.
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The Heublein Tower, standing at an impressive height of 165 feet, is a historic landmark situated atop Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury, Connecticut. This iconic structure, with its rich history and breathtaking panoramic views, is a testament to the vision of Gilbert Heublein, a prominent figure in the food and beverage industry.

Gilbert Heublein, the founder of Heublein Inc. renowned for producing A.1. Steak Sauce and Smirnoff vodka, had a dream. In the early 1900s, while hiking with his fiancée Louise M. Gundlach, he promised her that he would one day build her a castle on Talcott Mountain. True to his word, he embarked on the ambitious project of constructing the Heublein Tower.

Designed by the architectural firm Smith and Bassette, with a structural capacity to withstand winds of up to 100 mph, the tower was brought to life by T. R. Fox and Son, reaching completion in 1914. Heublein’s inspiration for the tower’s design hailed from the architectural marvels of Bavaria, reflecting his heritage and creating a unique and picturesque edifice.

Standing tall at 165 feet and perched 1,000 feet above the Farmington Valley, the Heublein Tower offers awe-inspiring vistas that stretch for dozens of miles in every direction. The top floor of the tower houses a viewing lounge, providing visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in the scenic beauty of Connecticut.

The tower’s ownership changed hands when the Hartford Times acquired it in 1943, and it was subsequently referred to as the Times Tower. Initially intended for use as a broadcasting point for the newspaper’s radio station, WTHT, it was soon discovered that the tower couldn’t bear the strain of transmitting equipment. Consequently, it became a venue for social gatherings and events for nearly two decades.

In a pivotal moment in the tower’s history, the State of Connecticut purchased the Heublein Tower and the 557 acres of surrounding land on August 16, 1966, for $500,000. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection assumed responsibility for managing the tower and its surroundings as part of Talcott Mountain State Park. The Friends of Heublein Tower, a non-profit organization, has played a significant role in the tower’s preservation and interior maintenance.

The Friends of Heublein Tower and its Estate, established in 1985, have been dedicated to preserving and restoring the Heublein Tower and its estate to their former glory. Their efforts have resulted in numerous restoration projects, including the installation of a white wood parquet floor in the tower’s observation room, mirroring the original design.

In recognition of its historical significance, the Heublein Tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, securing its place in the annals of American history. The reference number assigned to the tower by the National Park Service is 83001260.

To reach the tower and the accompanying museum, visitors embark on a 1.25-mile trek along the Tower Trail, a well-maintained path that typically takes around 30 to 40 minutes to navigate. The museum is open to the public from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, operating from Thursday through Monday. During the fall season, from Labor Day weekend through October 31st, the museum remains open from Tuesday through Sunday. Learn more about visiting the tower on the Freinds of Heublein Tower website.

The Heublein Tower stands not only as a testament to Gilbert Heublein’s commitment to his promise but also as a cherished historical and natural landmark, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its rich heritage and stunning surroundings.

Location

Address: 1 Summit Drive, Simsbury, Connecticut
Place GPS Coordinates: 41.825880, -72.798404
Parking GPS Coordinates: 41.825880, -72.798404
Parking Notes: There are many free parking spots along Summit Ridge Drive. Visitors then can hike the 1.25 mile Tower Trail to Heublein Tower.

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