Lucknow Estate History
Welcome to Tom and Olive Plant’s mountaintop estate, Lucknow, built in 1913-1914 high in the Ossipee Mountain Range. Known as Castle in the Clouds since its opening to the public in 1959, the house is an unusual example of Arts and Crafts architecture in New England, expressing that aesthetic movement’s philosophy of living in harmony with nature. Designed by the architectural firm of J. Williams Beal & Sons of Boston, the house not only exhibits skilled hand craftsmanship in every aspect of its interior and exterior, but also features a number of technological innovations of the early 20th century.
Thomas Gustave Plant (1859-1941) made his fortune in the shoe manufacturing industry, retiring as a millionaire at age fifty-one, having sold his business to the United Shoe Machinery Company in 1910. Newly married in 1913, Plant then focused on the creation of his New Hampshire country estate. In addition to buying the property known as Ossipee Mountain Park, Plant accumulated land from the Ossipee Mountains all the way to Lake Winnipesaukee, eventually owning 6,300 acres.
After a series of failed investments, Plant attempted, from the mid-1920s through the era of the Great Depression, to sell the mountaintop estate. However, no buyer was found, and the Plants continued to live at Lucknow until Tom Plant’s death in 1941, at which time the property was sold. Plant’s desire to maintain the integrity of his mountaintop estate property and the stewardship of the families who owned the property since his time have ensured that Lucknow survived in close to its original state and that its magnificent natural setting can be enjoyed by all today.
Owned and operated by Castle Preservation Society since 2006, Lucknow is now open to the public for guests to enjoy. Revel in the beauty of the views, while taking in the magnificent features Plant had installed in his home. Enjoy a self-guided tour as if time stood still in the early 1900s. Rooms are set up as if Tom and Olive had just stepped out for the day, and vintage apparel adorns the house in closets. Experience life through the eyes of the Plants, image yourself living in the mansion with spectacular views from every room. Search for the innovations of the time – central vacuuming, ammonia brine refrigeration, intercom systems.
Learn more about the history, the architecture, the property and the rise and fall of Thomas Plant during your visit. Our knowledgeable and friendly volunteer and museum guides are willing and able to answer almost all questions! Find out more about our Hours and Admission Rates! Visit our Program Calendar to see if we have any special events coming up during your visit!