|The Castle at Ralston Heights|
Small-town stories are often apocryphal, the stuff of popular myth. However, in the case of Webster Edgerly, a bigoted health reformer who moved to Hopewell in the late 1800s to establish a utopian community based on his own principles of hygiene and eugenics, the odd and disturbing stories surrounding him are mostly true.
Next to the Lindbergh House, probably the most well-known artifact of Hopewell’s parochial history is the Castle, across the street from the Highland Cemetery on Greenwood Avenue, up a long, gravel road, and tucked snugly away in a wooded clearing dappled with tall Japanese maples and ginkgo trees.
Most Hopewell residents are told that an eccentric white supremacist once lived there; that he wanted to create an exclusive, utopian community; that he failed, and his mansion—the Castle—is all that really remains. Those details are, indeed, accurate.
And today, the current residents of the mansion—a married couple seeking to foster community involvement—serve as an intriguing foil to the legacy of the bizarre man who once haunted the estate formerly known as Ralston Heights.
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