A Castle Built for Love

A Castle Built for Love (HM27JO)

Location: Berkeley Springs, WV 25411 Morgan County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 37.582', W 78° 13.616'

  • 0 likes
  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
  • 23 views
Inscription

Washington Heritage Trail

In 1885, noted Maryland businessman, Colonel Samuel Taylor Suit began construction on the elaborate summer cottage now known as Berkeley Castle. The land was part of the original Fruit Hill Farm owned before the Civil War by John Strother of the Berkeley Springs Hotel.

Made of local sandstone, the structure with its stone parapets and three-story turret reportedly gave the townspeople the impression of a handsome castle nestled among the rocks and cliffs of the mountain. It was one of more than two dozen splendid structures in the chic "cottage" community of Berkeley Springs during this Victorian Golden Age.

Suit had married Rosa Pelham, daughter of an Alabama Congressman and 30 years his junior two years before starting the castle for her. In August 1887, he and Rosa took up residence with their three young children. A year later Suit was dead after a brief illness.

Rosa spent the next decade hosting elaborate parties making good use of the castle's great hall with matching fireplaces, majestic stairway and lush wood-paneled formal dining room. In 1893, she built a tower-shaped carriage house connected to the main structure by winding tunnels blasted through the rough, natural rock of the mountainside. When WV9 was built in the 1920s, cutting the tower off from the main structure, the tunnel under



the road collapsed.

After Rosa vacated her castle, it went through decades of haphazard uses from tea room and artist retreat to site of the Monte Vista Boys Camp. Berkeley Castle became a prime tourism attraction for nearly half a century when Walter Bird purchased it in 1954 and began conducting house tours and spinning tall tales about its history. Eventually it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Unsubstantiated rumors that the castle is haunted persist.

Another baseless legend is that Berkeley Castle is a half scale replica of the famed castle of that name near Bath, England. Thanks to the Internet, it is easy to see that the local Berkeley Castle is about 1/10th the size of the one in England and is more a design by someone who may have seen a castle in a book once rather than a replica of anything.

Calculating the numbers, there are currently eight fireplaces, 16 room, nine full bathrooms and three halves as well as a kitchen on every floor. Today, Berkeley Castle is a private home, open to the public for weddings and special community events.
Details
HM NumberHM27JO
Tags
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 at 7:05am PDT -07:00
Pictures
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 738010 N 4389963
Decimal Degrees39.62636667, -78.22693333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 37.582', W 78° 13.616'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 37' 34.92" N, 78° 13' 36.96" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near S Mercer St, Berkeley Springs WV 25411, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  10. This marker needs at least one picture.
  11. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  12. Is the marker in the median?