Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Neighborhood Haunts (literally) Part One

Two blocks down and around the corner from our "castle"
is a rather famous and notoriously haunted house.

Richtofen Castle was built by the uncle and godfather of
World War I flying ace, "The Red Baron"

Rumor has it that in 1911
"The Most Beautiful Woman in America", Gertrude Patterson,
shot her husband two times in the back-leaving his body on the front lawn-
in what she claims was an act of self defense.
After her acquittal it is said that she booked a passage on the ill fated Titanic
and went down with the ship.

In fact a lot more mayhem, obsession, corruption and sex scandals
are alleged to have occurred here
(and we thought it was a quiet family oriented neighborhood ;-)
All of which are described in Robert Hardaway's book Alienation of Affection.
Hmm...I wonder if it comes in an audio book?

Anyway...more about Walter von Richtofen.
He built the hand-hewn limestone castle in 1877 for his second wife, Louise Ferguson.
Louise was not fond of the castle's prairie setting and took up residence at the historic
Brown Palace Hotel.
The grounds of the castle were spruced up to entice Louise to return.
The Baron brought in canaries, deer, antelope and many, many trees.
The landscape included a moat with a stone bridge, a dairy (or Molkery),
a tunnel to stables, and a lush garden.

While Baron von Richtofen had hopes of creating a German spa on the 320 acre lot
- (in 1888, he unveiled a "Swiss milk cure" that he believed would cure tuberculosis)-
the story has a sad ending.
During the Panic of 1893 and on the brink of the Spanish-American war, the Baron and his wife failed to open the new health spa and hotel they had planned instead resorting to selling books from the tailgate of a wagon to cover their expenses. Walter von Richtofen died on May 8, 1898. Louise lived until 1934.
She sold the castle in 1903 and lived the rest of her life in hotels.

**The information presented in this post came from two articles on the web at Walter von Richtofen the Red Baron's American Uncle and http://www.haunted

The first three photographs are also from the web articles. While the last two photographs that I took while walking my dog around the neighborhood.

Tomorrow I will post photographs of the inside of the castle and tell its story.

Have a wonderful night wherever you are.

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