In 1861, Dr. James R. Nichols, a brilliant chemist and agriculturist bought the Darling Farm, which sat on a hill overlooking Kenoza Lake to use for his experiments with chemical fertilizers. In 1872 he visited England and was inspired by their long-standing stone structures. He returned with an idea to build a summer home from native boulders and rocks. He was quoted at the time as saying … “we desire to prove to farmers and others in a practical way the value of boulder rocks (so common on almost every New England Farm) as building materials.” Construction began in 1873 and was completed two years later in 1875. He called the building Winnekenni Castle and the surrounding farm Winnekenni, an Algonquin Indian word for “Very Beautiful!”
The castle walls are four feet thick and indeed the castle has a sound structure. It’s elaborate Victorian interior was destroyed by fire in 1969. However the outside has withstood the test of time and was remodeled by the Winnekenni Foundation with the help of students and faculty from Whittier Regional Technical High School.
Today, this favorite Haverhill landmark is a valuable part of the community, still serving as a recreational park and offering, concerts, plays, workshops, craft fairs, Halloween parties, fundraisers and so much more.