Chicago's Only Castle

The History of Givins' Irish Castle and Its Keepers


Givins' Irish Castle, often called the Castle, is located in the Beverly Hills - Morgan Park community of Chicago at 10244 S. Longwood Drive. It was built in 1886 and 1887 and will celebrate its 125th anniversary in September 2011. The Castle has had only five castle keepers, each with exciting stories:

  • The Givins family (on and off from 1887 - 1909)

  • Julia Thayer and the Chicago Female College (1895 - 1897)

  • The Burdett family (1909 - 1921)

  • The Siemens family (1921 - 1942)

  • Beverly Unitarian Church (1942 to the present)


From late December 2009, Errol Magidson has spent over 3,000 hours working on Chicago's Only Castle: The History of Givins' Irish Castle and Its Keepers . This feature-length documentary has two important goals: 1) to preserve and publicize the history of the iconic Castle and its five keepers, and 2) to raise money for its preservation and maintenance.

Each of the stories of the Castle keepers is associated with some important events in the history of Chicago. For example, Miroslaw Siemens was the leader of a group of Ukrainian Americans who established the Ukrainian Pavilion at the Chicago World's Fair of 1933-1934.

In June 2011, this project received a special award of $10,000 from noted Chicago philanthropist Richard. H. Driehaus.

"Errol, Excellent research, while I believe that I have a better than average knowledge of the community's history, I learned new and interesting facts" [regarding a presentation on the history of the current Castle keeper, Beverly Unitarian Church.]

– Virginia Rugai, former Alderman, 19th Ward, Chicago

This documentary was
produced in loving memory of...

Jan Magidson
October 6, 1949 - March 16, 2011
In Loving Memeory Of Jan Magidson

(1974 Photo by Errol Magidson)

Bill Diana
August 25, 1930 - June 13, 2011
In Loving Memeory Of Bill Diana

(2011 Photo by Linda Lamberty)

Comments About the Film

Words like "fantastic," "wonderful," and "terrific" were expressed by many who have seen the film. Kathleen Tobin wrote, "The musical background of the film is simply exquisite." Filmgoer Sue Bever said, "The film was magnificent. I am a bit ADHD but it moved so quickly that I was focused through the entire film. Each of the segments included good stories and went smoothly from one topic to another. The stories cleared up so much folklore. I loved the personal touches and stories like the fish farm one. The crowd was friendly, too."