The Magical Castle on Willow Street

Morgan Memories – The Magical Castle on Willow Street

Castle on Willow Street.

The Magical Castle on Willow Street in Morgan, NJ with Bill Love About Age 4. Image Courtesy of Bill Love.

Once upon a time in a place far, far away (at least from where I live now) there was a mystical and magical castle.  This castle, while small (one room), was a wondrous place for local Morgan, NJ kids to climb in, have snow ball fights, or just hang out in.  No one ever chased you out – even though it was on private property (thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Bloodgood).  It was made of large dark stones held together by cement.  It had a thick dark stone floor, open windows on three sides and an open doorway on the fourth side.  It was connected by a long, thick, heavy metal chain to another structure which must have belonged to the King and Queen.

This photo, provided to me by the actual subject of the photo, Bill Love, shows what the castle looked like.  I never thought I would again see an image of it other than the one apparently deeply etched in my mind.  Not only had I not seen the castle for all of these years, I had not seen Bill Love either – until 2010 when I went to the Anaheim Convention Center to meet up with him.  Timing is everything and that weekend was the weekend of Bill’s annual trip to the Southern California area for the North American Reptile Breeders Conference.  Bill is a legend in the amateur reptile community having been in the industry since he was a teenager and, like his wife Kathy, a pioneer in this personal hobby.  Bill gained his love for reptiles from his days as a kid in Morgan.  Along with his friends Ross and Jack, Bill would go into the woods to find box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) and garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) near the South Amboy Waterworks ponds or at Applegates Pond at the bottom of the hill off of Liberty Street.  Bill shared a story of the one time he remembers meeting the Chicken Farmer. He and his friends were getting onto the path at the top of Dodd Place which led into “the woods” (as we called it).  Bill was greatly relieved when the Chicken Farmer didn’t pull out his legendary shot gun but instead asked how the boys were.  Bill replied that they were going into the woods to find turtles or snakes.  The Chicken Farmer told that that if they hurried, they might find the box turtle that he had just let loose near the path ahead (they did).

Bill and Kathy have made careers as herpetology enthusiasts.  They breed snakes, sell snakes, photograph snakes and have written books about snakes.  Kathy is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Corn Snakes (Elaphe guttata).  Their books, including their most recent, “Corn Snakes, The Comprehensive Owner’s Guide”, their herp wall posters, T-shirts and other herp products (including a kit which helps determine if your snake is male or female), are available at Kathy’s web site,  Bill is a noted “herp” photographer ( as well as herp expedition guide. They offer reptile expeditions in Southwestern Florida ( as well as expeditions to Madagascar off the south east coast of Africa via their web site.

It was just fabulous to see Bill after all these decades!

Notice the “Bar & Grill” sign with the backwards letters above and to the right of the castle.  This belonged to Jim’s Drive-In Bar & Grill which is the subject of another page of this web site.  While the castle is long gone, replaced by a house, it is still remembered fondly by many now adults who were able to play in it in a time long, long ago.

Originally posted on September 12, 2010.

7 thoughts on “The Magical Castle on Willow Street

  1. Margaret Teliszewski Morgan

    I, too, have many fond memories of playing in the Bloodgood’s castle! I lived in the house next door, the two-story with the set of four wagon wheels at the end of the double lot. Lots of memories spinning around on those wagon wheels. You have mentioned so many of the local sites and businesses. I can still picture them all!

    1. Jamie Bauer

      Margaret, you have a brother, Michael? He and I used to play together all over the neighborhood when were kids. My family moved away in 1958, but my grandparents stayed in the house on Morgan Ave. and we used to visit all the time. I continued to see Michael until they finally sold the house in the early 60s. How is he? Jamie

  2. Dan Buhler

    We recently moved to Willow Street. We were looking for a more exact address where this castle once stood. Can anyone help us out with a more precise description? Thanks!

    1. morgannjadmin Post author

      Hi Dan,
      Welcome to Willow Street! The castle was on the south side of the street just west of Dodd Place. Presently there is a two story house at the approximate location (third house from Morgan Avenue, fourth structure from Morgan Avenue). If you look at the photo on this page, you will see a white fence which goes back to the house on Haussling Place which is next to the gas station.

    2. Bill Love

      Dan, the ‘castle’ was directly across from my childhood home at 36 Willow St., where old family friend Theresa Lockwood now lives. The actual castle was on the northeast corner of Sonya & Carter Bloodgood’s property. Carter Bloodgood was one of my two godfathers. They were always very nice about letting the neighborhood kids play in it, probably partly because it was so solidly built as to be virtually indestructible by anything our play could muster against it.

  3. Dan Buhler

    Terry and her dog Riley live directly across the street. Pretty neat that our house has some “history” to it. I can tell where the base of the one structure use to be on the front lawn – there’s a low spot in the shape of a square and the grass grows a bit differently. I knew something use to be there!


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