Redstone Castle

April Carver gives a tour of the Library, decorated in a Persian motif with portraits of Osgood’s three wives.

Joshua Hardin

WHEN I STEPPED inside the front door of Redstone Castle, I felt like a countess of the British aristocracy. This 42-room home, with intricate woodwork, a library and servant’s quarters, feels like Downton Abbey, a fictional, historic television series set in an early 20th century English castle. Redstone Castle, however, is in the Elk Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, not the bucolic Yorkshire countryside.

Originally named Cleveholm Manor, Redstone Castle sits on 150 acres in the shadow of McClure Pass and uphill from the babbling Crystal River and the village of Redstone. This pristine artifact of a bygone era stands thanks to one man: industrialist John Cleveland Osgood. Said to be the sixth wealthiest person in the U.S. in 1902, Osgood was a self-made businessman, the “Fuel King of the West.” He built the more than 200 coke ovens that still sit in the Redstone Historic District. His workers ran the ovens 24 hours a day while trains shipped coke to fuel the Pueblo steel industry.

In a departure from many of the other so-called “robber barons” of his day, Osgood had the village of Redstone built for his workers in the spirit of enlightened industrial paternalism. Redstone included 84 Swiss-style cottages for married workers and an inn for unmarried workers, a bathhouse, an amphitheater, a clubhouse with a library, and a school. Many of the cottages are still being used as private residences.

Redstone was booming, but within a decade, shipping fuel to Pueblo became unprofitable. The ovens were shuttered. And when industry dried up, so did Redstone.

In Osgood’s brief heyday in Redstone, he built the Cleveholm Manor as a hunting retreat and a way to visit his Colorado kingdom. The manor hosted famous people like President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid outdoorsman.

The winding driveway up to Redstone Castle reveals a building that appears to grow out of the mountain. The heavy sandstone base supports a whimsical turret and rows of white-trimmed windows. Perhaps this is why Redstone Castle has such a strong Downton Abbey feel: Cleveholm Manor was modeled after an English Tudor.

A walk through the mansion reveals rich colors and textures. It feels elegant, yet manly. Animal heads peer from their perches on the walls, as does an elk head above the stone coat of arms over a massive fireplace in the main hall. His family didn’t have a coat of arms, so Osgood created one.

For the rest of the story see the March/April 2020 issue of Colorado Life.

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