The Hopewell “Castle” in the News

The Castle on Ralston Heights

Diccon Hyatt recently wrote a feature article for the U.S. 1 Newspaper, “Uncovering the Dark Secrets of the Castle,” on the infamous “Castle” building up the hill to the north of Hopewell Boro.

The Castle was built by Webster Edgerly, a 19th-century health guru who made his fortune selling mail-order books through an organization he created called the Ralston Health Club. The real history of Edgerly and the Castle would have likely been forgotten if not for the work of an archaeologist named Janet Six, who became interesting in the history of the site while she lived there while studying for her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hyatt does a nice job interviewing Six and recapping the odd (though really not dark) story or the origins of the Castle. Besides the Castle property, Edgerly bought up large tracts of farms north of Hopewell, intending to create “Ralston Heights” as a showcase development for his utopian community.

But Edgerly’s plans did not come to fruition. The other tracts of land were sold off (some adding to Highland Cemetery), and Edgerly’s showcase structures have been reclaimed by the forest growth. But his plans still live on in road names, including Shaftsbury Avenue (Edgerly’s alias), and a small cluster across Greenwood Avenue: Grandview, Ralston, Eastern, North Star, and Sunrise.

The Castle still is an intriguing topic today, as Hyatt found out from comments and corrections on his article. He also did a podcast on the topic with his interview with Janet Six.

The Castle and associated property also was part of the “Hidden Gardens of Hopewell” tour sponsored by the Friends of Hopewell Public Library on Saturday, June 1, 2019.

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