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Who Says America Doesn't Have Castles?

  • Ted Landphair

Cleveholm is the 42-room Tudor castle of Cleve Osgood's dreams. Cleve came from his name; holm from the Swedish word for home.

Cleveholm is the 42-room Tudor castle of Cleve Osgood's dreams. Cleve came from his name; holm from the Swedish word for home.

This one's history is as colorful as its surroundings

Beside a rushing Rocky Mountain trout stream lie two American rarities: a castle and a company town in which a single company - a single man, actually - once owned every building, even people's homes.

By 1892, Cleve Osgood, a cousin of U.S. President Grover Cleveland, controlled several Rocky Mountain coal mines and the only steel mill in the West.

Osgood was based back east in New York City, where he had bought an entire block, built a mansion on it, and become a cigar-smoking pal of other wealthy industrialists.

These were the men whom many called the robber barons of America's Gilded Age.

And Cleve Osgood also wanted a summer address as big as the West. These aren't caves. They're some of the ovens in which Osgood's workers made coke out of coal. The coke, in turn, was shipped to his steel mill in Pueblo, Colorado.

These aren't caves. They're some of the ovens in which Osgood's workers made coke out of coal. The coke, in turn, was shipped to his steel mill in Pueblo, Colorado.

So he purchased 7,700 hectares of the wild Crystal River Valley of Colorado and built Redstone, a sort of benevolent feudal kingdom in which Osgood built 84 framed cottages, a guest inn, and a schoolhouse for his employees.

The residents were workers from Osgood's nearby plant that made superheated coal called coke.

Redstone's name came from the red sandstone mountain right across the river.

And towering over the town was Cleveholm, the 42-room Tudor castle of Osgood's dreams. Here's one of the little workers' cabins at Redstone. Pretty nice digs for the time. They even had electricity and bathtubs with running water.

Here's one of the little workers' cabins at Redstone. Pretty nice digs for the time. They even had electricity and bathtubs with running water.

Cleve came from his name; holm from the Swedish word for home. His wife was Swedish. Osgood filled Cleveholm with trophy animal heads, Tiffany lamps, ruby velvet drapes, and imported leather wall coverings.

Down his own railroad spur off the main line out of Denver, he brought his New York friends in opulent private rail cars to see his mountain retreat.

Cleve Osgood eventually lost control of both his steel company and the town. Even this building in which Cleve Osgood housed his supervisors is pretty grand. It's now a hotel.

Even this building in which Cleve Osgood housed his supervisors is pretty grand. It's now a hotel.

Cleveholm became a dude ranch, a resort, and then a bed-and-breakfast inn.

In 2005, the century-old castle was sold at auction following a scandal in which investors were bilked out of $56 million dollars. One of the ringleaders was sentenced to 330 years in jail!

Cleveholm is now in one owner's hands and still open to tours, and there's talk of turning the great Redstone castle into a grand hotel.

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