Beside a rushing Rocky Mountain trout stream lie two American
rarities: a castle and a company town in which a single company once
owned every building – even people's homes. The castle belonged to
the man who owned the company.
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 moved to New
York, bought an entire city block, built a mansion on it, and became a
cigar-smoking pal of other industrialists. These were the men whom
many called the robber barons of America's Gilded Age.
Cleve Osgood also coveted a summer address as big as the West. So he
bought 7,700 hectares of the wild Crystal River Valley of Colorado and
built Redstone, an American feudal kingdom with 84 framed cottages, a
guest inn, and a schoolhouse. 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. 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. He brought his New York friends to see it in
his equally opulent private rail cars, hauled down his own railroad
Cleve Osgood eventually lost control of both his steel
company and the town. 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. One of the ringleaders was sentenced to 330 years in jail.
in one owner's hands and still open to tours, the great Redstone castle
is undergoing extensive renovation with an eye toward yet another
rebirth… as a grand hotel.