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 spur.
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.
Now 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.