Also known as The Big Red Castle or the Pillar of Fire, this castle is satiated on a hill Northwest of Denver and was first opened in 1892 as a university by the Presbyterian Church. Due to it being a males only university World War I spelled its demise as young men were left on military service. The university closed in 1917 and was later bought by the Pillar of Fire religious group who opened their own college and purchased a good deal of the surrounding land. The City of Westminster has a downloadable map with the route for a walking visit indicating which roads you should use – some are private – and details a history of the buildings around the main Romanesque inspired three-story building with its red sandstone, round turret and round arches.
Hours: No specific hours if you plan on taking a self-guided walk.
Phone: (303) 658-2400
Wilbur S Raymond commissioned the stone mansion built in 1889 as a show house for his real estate development but only lived in it for a year before losing it to his creditors. It is now a bed and breakfast hotel that is also available for weddings and special events. It is conveniently situated just five blocks from Denver Zoo at City Park, and one mile from Denver Botanic Gardens, making it suitable for visitors to the city, as well as locals who want to experience living in a castle for a night. The castle has nine bedrooms and is rated one of the top B&Bs in Denver. The castle is built from Castle Rock Rhyolite quarried in Castle Rock, Colorado that is composed of mica, quartz, and feldspar making it glitter in the sunlight. The carved detailing over the windows and doors is quite intricate and you can’t miss seeing the Peacock Window – a circular stained glass window 6 feet in diameter representing a peacock with its tail spread in the display. Visit them for Queen’s Tea with a variety of quality fresh tea selections, soup, sandwiches, salads, quiche, scones, desserts, and tea treats, all made at the castle. A tour of the mansion and a door prize for one lucky guest are included.
Hours: From Thursday through Sunday at 1 pm you can have Queen’s tea. You need to book 48 hours in advance and the minimum number for your party must be four.
Phone: (303) 331-0621
Cost: $40 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Children 8 and under, $20. Senior discounts on groups of 10 or more. Champagne can be added for an additional $10 a person.
3. Dunning Benedict Castle (Graystone Castle)
Real estate mogul Walter Dunning, like the owner of Castle Marne, was also a real estate developer who commissioned the Dunning-Benedict House in 1889 – the same year as Castle Marne. One wonders if there was a rivalry as to who built the best house. It was bought by the then City Attorney Michael Benedict in 1898 whose family occupied it until 1930 when it was sold and converted into apartments. The castle-like home is now used as offices by a law company. Although it is not open to the public, if you have a list of castles to visit in Denver it is worth viewing the beautiful exterior with its round turret topped with medieval style crenellations, the arched windows, and columns supporting the first-floor balcony. Although it is also made from Castle Rock rhyolite it doesn’t have the same color as Caste Marne being more grey – hence its nickname of Graystone Castle.
Where: 1200 Pennsylvania Street, Denver, Co 80203
Hours: Private offices not open to the public.