The Beverly Castle

To be honest, the real clincher of why I chose this neighborhood was this building: the Beverly (or Givens) castle.  How could I pass this up?

The Castle, as seen from the street

Currently the home of the Beverly Unitarian Church, who purchased the castle in 1942, the Givens castle was built in 1886.  Local real estate developer Robert C. Givens commissioned the castle, had it built of limestone from a quarry in Joliet, and made the home his residence from its completion in 1887 until 1909 (Barton).  Conflicting accounts describe why Givens built the castle.  According to the church that currently owns it, Givens built it to copy a castle located on the River Dee, between Dublin and Belfast, Ireland.  As claimed by the website of a local Chicago ghost and haunting tracking website, Givens built it as a gift for his bride-to-be, but she died before she could live there.  Other accounts state that the castle was meant to impress the fiancée as a replica of her ancestral family home.

The church describes the castle as “fifteen beautifully furnished rooms [which]

A closer view, from the sidewalk out front.

were decorated with rich tapestries, elegant chandeliers, and big copper gaslights…warmed with tiled fireplaces and… lit with stained glass windows”.  In Longwood Drive, Barton says that some rooms has higher-than-usual ceilings, due to Givins’ collection of tapestries. As it was closed at the time of my visit, I was unable to see these treasures.  However, I was able to marvel at the 3 floors and 3 crenelated towers decorating the outside.  The castle also sits on the ridge itself, and as a result, it makes a serious impression to those unwitting drivers passing for the first time along  Longwood Drive.

The castle is registered as part of both the Longwood Historic District and the Ridge Historical District, both

From the side.

of which themselves are registered in the National Register of Historic Places.

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