Entering This Charming Nebraska Castle Will Make You Feel Like You’re In A Fairy Tale
You’re far more likely to find an old sod house than a castle in Nebraska, but there is one magnificent castle that’s been a beautiful part of our state for more than a century. Joslyn Castle in Omaha is a stunning piece of architecture and an important part of the city’s history.
George and Sarah Joslyn, a prominent Omaha couple, commissioned the house in the early 20th century. Construction of the mansion was completed in 1903.
George and Sarah were entrepreneurs who relocated from Vermont in the late 1800s. George made his fortune in the newspaper industry; his company supplied "ready print" paper to thousands of newspapers all over the country.
The home was designed by local architect John McDonald. The lot is 5.5 acres, and the grounds were designed to be just as unique and gorgeous as the home itself.
The four story, 35-room mansion cost a stunning $250,000 in 1903, a number that would be around $6 million in today's dollars. It took only 11 months to build, which was surprisingly fast considering the amount of incredible details all throughout the home.
It contained all types of modern conveniences that were uncommon in homes at the time: telephones, indoor plumbing, electricity, and central heating, among others.
Though the castle was once on the very outer edge of Omaha city limits, Omaha has expanded considerably and the home is now in the heart of the city at 39th and Davenport streets. The entire neighborhood is now named for the castle. Other large, impressive homes surround the mansion, but none is quite as impressive.
Fun fact: the home's official name is Lynhurst, but it's been known locally as the Joslyn Castle since its construction.
The opulent home's interior space is 19,360 square feet. Some of the castle's rooms include a gold drawing room, a ballroom, a music room, a library, and a music room. There was once even a bowling alley in the basement and a pipe organ that filled the home with beautiful melodies.
Repairs, restoration and upkeep are constantly performed on the home to keep it looking as beautiful as its original owners intended.
There are gorgeous little details to be discovered all throughout the home, from stained glass windows to intricately carved wood. The interior is absolutely breathtaking.
The home's conservatory and grounds were designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen. At one time, the conservatory housed one of the country's most impressive collections of orchids. The collection was destroyed in the tragic Easter tornado of 1913.
The Joslyns had more than 100 mature trees planted on the grounds so they would not have to wait to enjoy their city oasis. The 5.5-acre lot has always been a special place - first for George, Sarah, and their daughter, Violet, and now for visitors.
As the home changed hands many times following Sarah's death in 1940 (George passed away in 1916), the gardens have at times fallen into disrepair. Today they are lovingly tended, and work is underway to restore the grounds to the way they looked in the castle's early days.
The castle and its grounds have become a popular venue for weddings, receptions, and other gatherings where a romantic, old-world style is desired.
Joslyn Castle has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996. It's an important part of Omaha history - not only because of its uniquely beautiful architecture, but because of the family's significance to the city.
George and Sarah were dedicated philanthropists who donated to many exceptional causes and invested in Omaha, helping it to grow into the thriving city it is today.
Today, part of the castle is used as office space, but you can tour the first, second, and third floors as well as part of the grounds during open tour times.
Open tour times are on the first and third Sunday of each month at 1, 2 and 3 pm. Private tours can be arranged at other times. Admission to the castle is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors, military members, and students.
You can find the Joslyn Castle at 3902 Davenport St., Omaha, NE 68131.
Read even more of this fascinating home’s history, get more information on tours and public events, and find out how to rent the castle for private events at the
Joslyn Castle website.
Have you ever visited the impressive mansion? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!
For another unique and historic home in Nebraska, visit the
Dowse Sod House in Comstock.
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