There's some big news for people who hike at Tarrywile Park in Danbury. Soon, they may be able to go where no hikers have gone before.

It looks like work is currently underway to finally renovate Hearthstone Castle at Tarrywile Park. The castle, constructed in 1897, is basically an historic city landmark, and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1987. There had been talk over the last few years that the castle would be torn down due to safety concerns, but instead, a renovation is underway to restore a portion of the castle, and also to create an observation deck.

Danbury Mayor, Mark Boughton, told us he is very excited about this project to save and repurpose the structure, especially since he now has seen the plans. "It was hard to understand and conceptualize while the place was so full of junk." Boughton said, "but we've got it cleaned out, and are in the process of stabilizing the walls, and then what I think we're going to do is fill the basement in and build an observation tower inside the castle."

The castle was originally built for noted photographer, E. Star Stanford, to use as a summer home in his hometown of Danbury. Over the years, the castle fell into disrepair, and was finally acquired by the City of Danbury. In 2016, city voters approved a $10 million dollar bond package that would have funded a controversial demolition of the property. When plans surfaced for the castle's demolition, residents who felt the city should save the structure protested. Now, some four years later, the castle is in the process of being saved, and converted into a destination on the hiking trails at Tarrywile Park.

Mayor Mark Boughton explained just what's happening to the castle, "once it's complete, you'll be able to go into the castle, head up a set of steel stairs to an observation deck that will be above the castle, there you'll be able to get a nice 360 degree view of the City of Danbury. It's about as good of use that you ever going to have of that facility, and hikers for generations will be able to enjoy it".

Don't look for a quick renovation, though. According to the Mayor, the project won't be done this fall, but they are looking for it to be ready for the fall of 2021.

If you haven't been to the castle recently, here's a June 2020 video tour of what it looked like before the renovation started.

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