By 1959, the property was owned by Joseph Bauernschmidt of Long Island, but was left abandoned to vandals who broke 100 windows, ripped out light fixtures, and smashed plumbing fixtures. In 1961, it was sold to Kathryn B. Crofts who left the castle sitting on 8 acres, with the remaining 142 acres set aside for subdivision.
In 1965, the building became the property of two builders, Andrew Woehrel and Al Grosch. In 1970, the castle was leased to a private school, Chartwell Manor, which stayed for one year before moving to a new site in Mendham. The headmaster of the school, Terrence M. Lynch “Sir”, of Scotland was convicted of molesting his students, and is currently incarcerated for additional crimes of molesting three adults. The website link is a support group and chat room for those who attended Chartwell Manor School.
In 1972 disaster struck when the Woehrels’ sons set a fire in the fireplace. According to reports at the time, the boys had been helping Woehrel paint the interior of the castle on the night before the fire, in preparation for a visit by a prospective purchaser. Woehrel left to go home, and the boys, and two of their friends retired in sleeping bags near a burning fireplace on the first floor. Ashes from the fire ignited the paneling on the floor and the fire raged out of control destroying 80 per cent of the castle, leaving just stone and steel.
The owners declared bankruptcy and the property went to the auction block where it was bought for $43,000 by Donald Burlingame and his wife. The castle was open to the sky, with pipes exposed and the ground floor completely covered with debris. Burlingame began the restoration with the seven-room attached cottage at the rear of the castle, formerly the servants quarters, replacing the roof, and inner and outer walls using photographs given to him by Chartwell Manor School. But the job proved too much, and too costly,with only half the work completed the Burlingames moved to Costa Rica in 1993.
The property was sold to Richard and Nadine Peacock, and in 2000 was bought by its current owner. He has pledged to continue the renovation process, and has “great plans to restore the castle and would do so brick by brick, stone by stone.”