When you think of Denver, castles probably don’t necessarily come to mind, but there are actually a handful of castle and castle-like structures in and around the city. Many were built by wealthy millionaires in the late 18 and early 1900s and have been historically preserved or restored to their original glory. While a few are currently privately owned, most are open to the public and make for a great little educational field trip and photo op. Don’t miss these amazing castles in Denver that you just have to visit!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Westminister Castle
The construction of the Westminister Castle began in 1890 and was designed by E.B. Gregory and Stanford B. White in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Originally the home of Westminister University, it was built on the highest point in Adams County with the hopes of becoming the "Princeton of the West." Unfortunately the dream was never realized, and in 1920 the "Big Red Castle" was purchased by the Pillar of Fire church and is now the home of Belleview Christian School.
2. Castle Marne
Now a highly-rated bed and breakfast in Capitol Hill, Castle Marne was originally build in 1889 as a residence for Wilbur S. Raymond and was designed by famed Denver architect William Lang. Today you can experience Castle Marne by staying in one of their Victorian-style guest rooms, stopping in for afternoon tea, or renting their event spaces for private parties and dinners.
3. Frank I. Smith House
The Frank I. Smith House is another Denver landmark designed by architect William Lang (and Marshall Pugh) and was constructed in 1891. The house served as the residence of Frank Smith, his wife, and their six children. You can see the influence of the Richardsonian Romanesque style of design, with its most prominent features being the 2½-story entry bay and the square corner tower.
4. The Dunning-Benedict House
Yet another stunning examples of William Lang's masterpieces is the Dunning-Benedict House designed and built in 1889 for real estate mogul Walter Dunning. Today the former home is used as law offices and apartments and is not open to the public, but it's still worth the trip to enjoy its historic characteristics, such as the Castle Rock rhyolite and marble flooring.
5. The Adolph Zang Mansion
This national historic landmark built around 1902 was designed by an unknown architect in the Classical Revival style. Adolf Zang, the original owner, was a prominent industrialist and businessman in Denver in the early 1900s. Most of the original features of the mansion remain intact today, including the brick and stone exterior, stained glass windows, and hand-carved fire places.
6. Treat Hall Castle
Constructed of Castle Rock rhyolite and trimmed in red sandstone, Treat Hall was built in 1886 and served as Colorado Women’s College, the first of its kind in the Rockies. It also reflects the Richardsonian Romanesque style and was designed by architects Jackson and Betts. Today the building is a hub of Johnson & Wales University.
7. The Richthofen Castle
Built in 1887 by the uncle of the infamous WWI flying ace, "The Red Baron" (aka Baron Manfred von Richthofen), this former residence was designed after the von Richthofen castle in Germany. This roughly 15,000-square-foot mansion is truly one of a kind and was also the scene of a gruesome murder in 1911 and is rumored to be haunted to this day.
8. Gart Brothers Sportscastle
You can't miss this three-story Art Deco-Gothic building on Broadway, which became the original store for the Gart Bros. Sporting Goods Company (now known as Sports Authority) in 1928. The Sportscastle originally featured seven levels and 100,000 square feet of sporting goods and still maintains its position as one the largest sporting good stores in Colorado.
9. The North Building at the Denver Art Museum
Okay, so it's not technically a castle, but you can't deny the building's intentional castle-like facade, designed by architect Gio Ponti in 1971. At seven stories and 210,000 square-feet, with over one million reflective glass tiles on its exterior, the "castle" at DAM is not to be missed!
10. Walker Castle Ruins
Of course a study of Denver castles would not be complete without a visit to the popular Walker Castle Ruins at Mount Falcon. A quick hike to the historic site reveals the broken dreams of the successful businessman John Brisben Walker, who constructed this home overlooking Red Rocks in 1910. However, Walker's wife passed away in 1916, and the castle was struck by lighting and burned in 1918, and the crumbling stones are now all that remain.
Do you know of any castles in Denver that are worthy of a visit? Let us know in the comments!