The view from Crane Castle Cupola

... bird's eye view of the estate at Castle Hill

by Debbi Collar

Bird's eye views of properties seem to be getting the best of me lately. A
recent excursion brought me to "The Crane Estate at Castle Hiil," located at 290
Argilla Road. The event - "Cupla with a View" which beckoned visitors to climb
to the top of the Castle, viewing the grounds from a perspective that everyday tourists are not able to see. Our "guide," one of eight or nine "cultural interpreters." otherwise known as "butlers and maids" who are employed throughout various seasons,
was Joe Stigliano.

L - "Butler" and "cultural interpreter" guide,Joe Stigliano welcomes guests
to The Crane Estate on Castle Hill Right, the rolling hills lawn leading to
the ocean

Dressed as a butler, he greeted his guests at the door, welcoming them into
the house. Even from the first floor the view was spectacular as we looked out
onto the lawn of the rolling hills. Following an ongoing history of the home and its
occupants, Stigliano ascended with us to the top of the estate, up a spiral staircase to overlook various scenes surrounding the grounds.

Our destination reached-the cupola. Right, breathtaking views of the area
surrounding The Crane Estate on Castle Hill and "Joe" on the job

He pointed out Halibut Point, Rockport, and Great Neck, Ipswich as well as
Plum Island. Seven of us were overlooking greenery and ocean views from a
bird's eye view of the property. Although quite a windy day, Stigliano also noted that there was a lot of wildlife on the property and answered many questions on the rooftop, regarding previous family occupants of the estate. Those residents included
the original owner, son of the first Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor, John
Winthrop Jr in 1637, to the most recent property owners, the Crane's. Richard
Teller Crane Jr. who, according to the self guided tour pamphlets, is said to have
transformed the property in 1910. The Crane family, is noted for the "manufacturing of valves, pumps and bathroom

Joe Stigliano and tourist discuss the history of the Castle and the area

Actor Chevy Chase is not an owner but is known to have  spent summer vacations
there at the estate. His connection to the Crane family is on his mother's
side.  Chevy Chase was born Cornelius Crane Chase.

Stigliano later revealed that he, too, was a theater actor, once owned a
restaurant, his wife, a chef, and he had worked at one time in the retail
business. Upon his retirement and the sale of the restaurant,
he decided he wanted to "keep active" and found out about Crane Estate on
Castle Hill was hiring "cultural interpreters." This is his fourth season
there and says "I love to come to work." One of those reasons can be seen
through the photographs.

The Crane Estate on Castle Hill in Ipswich offers many events throughout the
year. Use your computer to click into your search engine for more information
on upcoming events.  It is also possible to take a self guided tour.

May 5, 2017

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