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Gingerbread Castle photograph.
Robin Weiner/U.S Newswire Photography

Gingerbread Castle photograph.
Robin Weiner/U.S Newswire Photography

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Gingerbread Castle

Built: 1928
Designed by: Joe Urban
Renovated: 2002
Type: Entertainment Venue
Location: 50 Gingerbread Castle Road, Hamburg, United States
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Building Rating
50%
90% of readers like the Gingerbread Castle.
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M ost every American knows the major theme parks -- Six Flags, Paramount, and the various Disney establishments. But for decades, the American landscape was dotted with also-rans with names like "Jungle Habitat," "Space Farms," and "Fairy Tale Forest." These parks were aimed at children too young for the giant roller coasters of the major parks, and to their families looking for an outing without having to drive across the state. Nestled in the woods of northern New Jersey is such a place. Known as Gingerbread Castle, this park is tucked away along an unremarkable rural road in Sussex County, New Jersey. Built in 1930 by F.H. Bennett, it uses a life-sized castle to tell the story of "Hansel and Gretel." It also featured other stories, and even had a miniature railroad for the children to ride. The property actually started out as a flour mill in 1808. When that enterprise became unprofitable, a wire and cable factory was erected on the property. This was an important turn of events because the owners used their plastics to make several plastic dinosaurs which adorned the property. As children came to visit, more dinosaurs were added, and then eventually the Gingerbread Castle, itself.
Some time in the 1980's, the Gingerbread Castle fell into a serious state of disrepair. Eventually, the property was only used as a haunted house attraction during Halloween. But in the early 21st century, there was a renewed interest in the property. A man by the name of Frank Hinger bought the property and began a series of fundraisers to help fix it up. The restoration was boosted, in part, by a donation from the Hampton Inn hotel chain (Hampton Inn volunteers are pictured scraping the paint off of Humpty Dumpty).

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Tiffany
Friday, December 23rd, 2011 @ 7:53pm
I wish I did have the recipe! My grandmother actually worked at the castle making the gingerbread men, and I would love to be able to recreate them. Hoping someone has it!

Linda Lyden
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 @ 4:02pm
Does anyone have the Gingerbread Man Cookie Recipe from the Castle? They were the best gingerbread cookies I've ever tasted. Miss those magical days of make believe.

Indy
Sunday, August 8th, 2010 @ 9:34am
Visited the Gingerbread Castle yesterday...I too had gone there as a child. You cannot imagine my shock to finally realize there was/is the Wheatsworth Mills sharing the same courtyard! I never saw that as a child!Both the mill and the castle are now under "environmental investigation". The castle is now closed off with cyclone fencing and barbed wire. The factory is in shambles and mega-dangerous. The little pond is covered in green scum and Humpty Dumpty has a little paint on him, not much. It was a very sad and revealing time. I took many shots...they are over on my notebook and I'll upload some...but the best shot I got was by standing on my tiptoe and holding my camera above the barbed wire, somewhat. Very sad!!!!

Kim
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 @ 6:43pm
Rating: Five stars.
My grandfather painted the castle many, many years ago. It was one of my favorite places to visit and each time I saw the castle, it brought back such fond memories of my grandfather.

Priscilla (Conley) Mix
Friday, May 28th, 2010 @ 8:10pm
Rating: Five stars.
I grew up in Franklin, and miss Gingerbread Castle, Fairytale Forest, Storybook Town (think that was in Wayne) and worked at Action Park. If I won the lottery I would buy the castle and restore it, of course I am sure its a lot smaller now that Im grown up...oooh lets not forget Sterling Forest!

Suzanne
Friday, August 21st, 2009 @ 8:10pm
Rating: Five stars.
This was a magical place to visit as a child and I have a souvenir booklet with black and white photos from the fifties. Also have photos of my brother and I as toddlers sitting on the stone wall (probably alongside Humpty Dumpty). Would be great to see this place fully restored for the future generations to enjoy!

Iona Willcox Knapp
Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 @ 10:23pm
Rating: Five stars.
My father, Sanford George Willcox, was the second Hansel during the late 1910's into the early 1920's. I have fond memories of this place.

Rachel Lombardi
Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 @ 10:29am
Rating: Five stars.
Yesterday i visited the ginger bread castle and i felt bad because its all beat up and i want to fix it. When my grandma was little she visited it too but its sad too think about it and who a banded it

Tom
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 @ 8:22pm
While at my Mom's house over the weekend she brought out 2 tiny coffee mugs from the Gingerbread Castle NJ. They had a colored picture of the castle on them and were very lightweight and thin.

David Simpson
Friday, March 27th, 2009 @ 12:41pm
I too had Mrs Rear in Mt tabor, NJ but in 1958. We also went to the Ginger Bread Castle and I am still afraid of touching a stair railing as I may turn to stone like they told you.

Charles Parnham
Saturday, March 14th, 2009 @ 6:56pm
Rating: Four stars.
I am looking for anyone who may have a copy of the movie Hansel & Gretel make by the Hayes family of Orange, NJ in the late 2930s. Please make contact with me at cparnham@cox.net. I hope to hear from someone soon.

jamie flood
Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 @ 12:23pm
Rating: Five stars.
My family used to live about a mile from the Gingerbread Castle so we were there all the time! Some of my best memories of my childhood are from that magical place. My favorite was the train ride! My mom has alot of pics of my sister and I there in our matching dresses, holding hands with the Gingerbread boy statues!! It is a shame to see it run down. Hopefully someone can bring back the magic to the Gingerbread Castle!

Larry Huyler
Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 @ 1:50am
Rating: Five stars.
My parents would take my brother, sister and I here every summer from 1955 until 1965. I have old movies of the park and figures as well as the train. I was a place that will alsways bring back memories of a lifetime passed.

jared Ruban
Thursday, October 30th, 2008 @ 11:03pm
Rating: Five stars.
Very fond memorries as a child and was happey to see it all again in the late 90s as a Halloween event just to be able to walk up thoSe steps again made me feel like I was 6 again if even for a few minutes. Hope it is open again one day I'll visit!

Beth Avery
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 @ 1:50pm
Rating: Five stars.
Visiting the Gingerbread Castle in the 70s is still one of my top most magical childhood memories. I am so sad to hear of its disrepair, but hope that some day it will be refurbished. It really did tap into that magical place for so many of us. I remember it like it was yesterday--and have a postcard of the castle at my desk all these years later.

Jeff
Thursday, October 9th, 2008 @ 2:27pm
Rating: Two stars.
I was just here last week. The area is in complete disrepair. The castle itself looks like it got some repainting in the last several years, but the property is completely overgrown. Some of the fairy tale characters are falling apart, and the structural wire in then can be seen through open holes in the plaster. The area is partially fenced, and although you can walk in, numerous "Keep Out" and "No Trespassing" signs are posted. The pond aside the road is empty and filled with fallen leaves. The large mill complex next door is completely in disrepair with virtually every window broken. If you are planning to visit this site for some reason other than to look at it from the street, don't bother. There is nothing going on here, it is not open to the public, and there are no programs for Halloween.

JoAnn Evans
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 @ 11:28am
I remember a class trip in the early - mid 70's. I have vivid memories of being scared by a witch in the stairwell & biying a gingerbread cookie cutter in the gift shop. Im hoping to take my kids there Halloween week!

charlotte frankenfield
Sunday, September 21st, 2008 @ 3:10am
Rating: One star.
It is such a shame. the Castle was part of history.Class trips were the thing back in the late 60's early 70's. It was the place for families and small children. Small children were able to relate to the stories told. there needs to be a place for small children again with imagination. I will always remember the fun times.

Darron Corriden
Saturday, September 13th, 2008 @ 5:52pm
Rating: Five stars.
Rick, my father George may have worked with or for your grandfather- I know he had something to do with the casting of the elephant staircase.Sad to hear the place is falling apart...

C. Slate
Thursday, September 11th, 2008 @ 11:14pm
Rating: Five stars.
It was a great place went there as a kid like everybody else for so many years. But sadly it would cost a fortune to fix it at this point to do it right and the current owner who bought it last year has no interest in it. His main reason for buying the property I hear was to put in a golf course which I don't think will happen until the place falls down or is condemned which ever happens first. Very sad but a least the memories will live on like the Kuser mansion at High Point that NJ let crumble till it was torn down.

Rick Rumsey
Saturday, September 6th, 2008 @ 8:06pm
Rating: Four stars.
Family legend says that my great grandfather Blake Rumsey, a builder of local fame built the gingerbread castle. He is supposed to have been an early user of poured concrete construction techniques in the Hamburg / Sparta area. No way to verify the story.

Drew Paren
Sunday, August 31st, 2008 @ 12:29pm
Rating: Five stars.
In the spring of 1956; my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Rear, of Mt. Tabor School in NJ; arranged a fieldtrip to The Gingerbread Castle. Now, 53 years later, I still have fond memories of that day. I remember that there was a wishing well inside the castle where you toss in a penny and make a wish. It was such a wonderful place for a 5 year old to visit. Is it still there?Drew Paren, Baltimore, MD

Rocky Bobbo
Friday, August 22nd, 2008 @ 2:54pm
The Castle has been in disrepair and has been closed for many years. It now belongs to a local business that is bulding condos nearby and plans to preserve the castle, but not as a tourist attraction. It is only speculation that the castle will not be razed.

lycia
Saturday, August 9th, 2008 @ 5:51pm
my parents brought me and my sisters to the castle when I was little and It has always stuck in my mind. about 10 years ago I found my way back to the castle and felt so sad about the condition of the place. Today for some reason I decided to look up the castle and was happy to hear that some effort is being made to restore the castle. I will continue to check the site to find out if it reopens....then I will certainly bring my daughter for a visit!!!!!

Marion Moir
Sunday, August 3rd, 2008 @ 4:19pm
Rating: Five stars.
Loved it as a child...Going through my scrap book I saw pictures and the orriginal brochure & bag for the gingerbread man. Entrance cost $0.35 adults and children $0.25.

Ruth Torns
Friday, August 1st, 2008 @ 12:31pm
I remember the little loaves of bread we bought for our dolls. There was a bakery on the grounds of the Gingerbread Castle. I'm now 83 yrs, of age!Ruth Torns LI, NY

joe Madory
Sunday, July 27th, 2008 @ 4:54pm
Rating: Five stars.
Remember clearly visiting the Gingerbread Castke duribg the war years when we could get gas. The outside animal cracker lined staircase, the lights with the colored "candy" balls in them, the strucyure which was gingerbread and candy BUT turned to stone if you touched it, the witches cauldron.I probably last visited when I brought my new wife there in the early 60's. In my maid it's still there,

Linda Shelley
Thursday, May 1st, 2008 @ 2:07pm
Rating: Five stars.
My family visited the castle couple of years ago.We were shocked to see someone had turned into a haunted place.It was very sad.My dad came here as a child in the 30's ,I came here as a child in the 60'sand then I brought my children in the 90's .We even have pictures from all of the visits. The most haunting thing about the visist was when we walked through it was if though time had never touched the place.It was like the whole place was a sleep .The stone characters were still there but natures vines were creeping around them. It looked like just one day every thing just stopped and the people vanished. Like a twilight zone episode. I still remember my first taste of gingerbread and that enchanted feeling you would get. Believe it or not I could still feel all of that. There is no place like the gingerbread castle .I think someone should write a good story about it .maybe from the sales that the book would make the place could be restored. Im glad I found this site I will tell others about it . a Gingerbread castle fan

Lorraine Vilardi-Lukich
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 @ 11:15am
Rating: Five stars.
I was sad to hear all the attractions that I had seen as a child is no longer around to bring my children to. I have many happy memories of my oma and opa (grandparents) taking their children and granchildren to Fairytale Forest and Gingerbread Castle, but all I have to show my kids are pictures.I hope these places are restored to their once unique presence of childhood wonder. I would take my family fequently.

Louise Jones
Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 @ 10:29pm
Rating: Five stars.
Visited on a class trip, probably age 12. I have a souvenir plate still in great shape from when I was there.

Joe Fanning
Monday, January 28th, 2008 @ 11:37pm
Rating: Five stars.
Well, going over the messages and am very touched to see that EVERYONE has rated the Castle with 5 Stars! Certainly tells a great deal about the specialness of that one spot in the lives of the people who visited it.

Claudette Choiniere
Monday, October 29th, 2007 @ 4:43pm
Rating: Five stars.
I have a postcard from the Gingerbread Castle from a visit I barely remember back in the early 50's. Would love to see more pictures of it from back in the 50's.

Heather Palecek
Monday, August 27th, 2007 @ 6:47pm
Rating: Five stars.
I am a photography student at Montclair State University.I live less than 2 minutes away from the beautiful castle and am in the middle of doing a photo project about the castle in my advanced black and white photography class this semester. I am very interested in any photographs anyone has from when you visited the castle.If you have any that you'd like to share or that I could get a photo copy of, please let me know.my email is palecekh1@mail.montclair.eduit is much appreciated, thank you!-Heather

Amy Wren
Monday, August 20th, 2007 @ 1:27am
Rating: Five stars.
I have slides of my little brother and I posing in the book circa 1976. I remember trying to touch the walls faster than they could turn to stone and never quite making it. When we'd get home at night, I would fall asleep thinking of how wonderful it would be to LIVE in a castle of gingerbread! I'm tearing up reading these memories. I feel the same nostalgic way. This stands in my mind with fonder feelings than any trip I've ever taken to a bigger theme park. Long Live The Gingerbread Castle!

Les Schwar
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007 @ 12:05pm
Rating: Five stars.
I visited the castle as a kid in the 30's. Enjoyed the characters in and about the castle. Glad it is still in operation

William T. Grutta
Monday, August 6th, 2007 @ 10:35am
Rating: Five stars.
I visited the Castle during a school trip in the late 50's. Visited again in 73 just to buy the delicious gingerbread cookies that were sold across the street. Stopped yesterday

Lorraine
Saturday, August 4th, 2007 @ 3:03pm
Rating: Five stars.
My first job was at Gingerbread Castle back in 1980. I was Gretel and took children on tours through the castle. I wish I could bring my own children to see it.

John Youpatoff
Tuesday, June 12th, 2007 @ 10:29pm
It must have been in the early 50's. I remember the castle and going up the tower stairs. When I reached the top there was a young witch telling a story. i have no idea what the story was about.I do not remember any other attractions. I am sure there must have been some.John Youpatoff

Terry Mac
Friday, May 4th, 2007 @ 1:34pm
Rating: Five stars.
What a rush, to remember the Castle! We kids were told not to touch the gingerbread walls or they would turn to stone. They had Robin Hood style hats with a feather that you could buy.

Barbara Hohman
Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 @ 2:59pm
Rating: Five stars.
How my brothers, sister and I loved going to the castle on our way back from Space Farms every year with our parents. What a simple, but sweet time in our lives!! Thanks letting me re-live my childhood for a few minutes!!

D. Ganley
Tuesday, March 13th, 2007 @ 10:38am
Rating: Three stars.
I used to take my kids here; they loved it! I just found a 1931 postcard from the castle that my Mother had sent her mother!

Diane Tornquist
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 @ 3:45pm
Rating: Five stars.
I have an org print of the gingerbread castle from the 1950's i just saw it on one of the web sites they haeve one for sale. they have only seen 2 in there life time. I had it since 1950'ssigned by newman or newmam. its great.

Diane Tornquist
Monday, March 5th, 2007 @ 12:07pm
Rating: Five stars.
Every year we had to stop at the castle in the 50's on way to the catskills. had gingerbread men cookies.I still have a 8x12 framed artist's picture in color of the castle. I keep a photo copy on my desk. loved the tower with the witch, she threw a bone in the pot at end. to scare all of us.Good job. When it gets restored I and a fe friend will go back.

Janie Engelhardt
Monday, February 12th, 2007 @ 7:50pm
Rating: Five stars.
I too loved this place as a child, and a mom. My children loved it too! I,m an artist and would love to help redesign, and referbish it back to its former glory and some.

c1957
Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 @ 7:41pm
Rating: Five stars.
i have known the castle for years from its hayday to bar and night club to rock club go go bar to a restaurant to just doing the haunted castle i have known the past 2 owners they just did not have the money to restore it back the way it was years ago.the castle was just sold to a contractor so i hope that he can restore to and reopen it for all to see it will take time and a lot of money thank you

j forsthoffer
Sunday, November 19th, 2006 @ 1:16pm
Rating: Five stars.
mom and dad took us thereas kids.have great photos and memories.all good things are dissapearing in nj.

carolyn jones obiso
Sunday, November 5th, 2006 @ 2:37pm
Rating: Five stars.
I grew up in Hamburg and went many times to the castle. I also took my children there. They also enjoyed. My grandchildren wanted to go but it is no longer there. Maybe they can revive it someday.

Francesca Basile
Thursday, October 12th, 2006 @ 2:45pm
Rating: Five stars.
A New Jersey Landmark... Truly built with a vision... someone will hopefully revive this enchanting place. A wonderful childhood memory. It was a 1000 times bigger when I was little :-)

Marilyn Shapiro
Tuesday, October 10th, 2006 @ 8:37pm
Rating: Five stars.
I am a child of the 1950's. My par4ents brought me to the castle as a special treat. I revisited at 56 y ears old this past weekend and felt the same sense of wonder. I hope that someone with vision is able to maintain this magnificent relic.

H. Danielsen
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006 @ 12:00pm
Rating: Five stars.
My parent took me there when I was little, loved it. It is for Sale on Ebay this week due to foreclosure :( Oct. 2006

Diane
Wednesday, June 14th, 2006 @ 2:10pm
Rating: Five stars.
I loved the ginger bread castle as a kid, I have pictures with my my brother and sister and would love to take my kids there someday

Doreen
Friday, March 3rd, 2006 @ 11:59pm
Rating: Five stars.
I loved going to the Gingerbread Castle as a child in the sixties. I have lots of good memories, but I always wonder what made their gingerbread men so delicious!! If anyone has the recipe, please share!!!

Joseph Boehm
Friday, January 20th, 2006 @ 5:29pm
Rating: Five stars.
My wife and I went on our first and last "Date " there in 1959. The reason for the first and last was that eveninbg we got ingaged and were married a few months later. that was 46 years ago

Pam Krpejs
Thursday, December 22nd, 2005 @ 11:00am
Rating: Five stars.
Memories and photographs still keep the spirit of the Gingerbread House in my heart. I grew up in the area but have now moved away. I hope to visit soon to give my children the same precious experiences I had.

Ro
Tuesday, October 25th, 2005 @ 9:14pm
Rating: Five stars.
Boy did this site bring a smile to my face. I remember my first visit to the castle when I was probably 6 or 7. I am 52 now so that tells you how long ago. I remember all the visits I had to it and the ones I bought my grown children there to. A wonderful place to restore for future generations to enjoy!

Linda Lawrence
Sunday, August 7th, 2005 @ 2:58pm
I have visited Gingerbread Castle many times as a child. As a mom I have told my children of it and would like to take them there.

Joe Fanning
Sunday, July 17th, 2005 @ 3:06pm
Rating: Five stars.
Many fine memories and home movies of the place! Still ride by many times when I go to my second house in Pa. via Route 23!


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