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Handmade History: the Gingerbread Castle

Handmade History: the Gingerbread Castle

Tucked just off of Route 23 in Hamburg, you’ll find the Gingerbread Castle, a one-time fairytale-themed attraction for kids. With its pastel pink walls, quirky characters, and swirling spires, it looks like it could have been plucked right out of a children’s book… which was exactly the intent.

This building has stood the test of time, remaining basically intact from the 1930s to today. It’s one of the last remaining structures from world-renowned architect Joseph Urban. It was supposed to resemble something out of Hansel and Gretel, and from the looks of it, he nailed it!

Unfortunately, this once-booming tourist destination has become more well-known for being abandoned for the last 30+ years. It has recently became something of a (very illegal) graffiti destination and a hotspot for urban explorers and curious minds alike.

Thankfully Don Oriolo, the current owner, has big plans for the property. Together with artist Amanda Fullman, they’ve been restoring the Castle by hand, back to its original look and feel, and hope to publicly reopen sometime in 2020. Until then, while the building is visible from the road the inside is off limits.

If you’re planning to visit, know that as of this article’s publication, you won’t be able to enter the Gingerbread Castle. But if you happen to run into someone there, strike up a conversation! It’s hard not to be both awed and intrigued by this hand-painted Hamburg staple.

Have you visited this castle? Let us know in the comments!

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Dan Schenker

📷 Aerial drone and event photographer. Will work for ice cream and dog kisses.

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