There’s a castle in Chicago?

Three stories high, with round crenelated lookout towers, and perched on a hill in the Longwood Drive Historic District in Chicago is the Givins’ Irish Castle. Built between 1886 and 1887 in Beverly Hills & Morgan Park community, the Castle has had only five castle keepers, each with fascinating stories.

The Project

The goals of this project are:
1) to
preserve and publicize the history of the iconic Castle and its five keepers and
2) t
o raise money for its preservation and maintenance. 

The Award

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

The Documentary

From late 2009 to 2011, Errol Magidson spent over 3,000 hours working on Chicago’s Only Castle: The History of Givins’ Irish Castle and Its Keepers.

The Book

A companion to the documentary, the book has over 400 images, including important documents, photographs, and newspaper articles, that help tell the Castle-keepers’ many stories.

The Documentary Was Produced in Loving Memory Of:

Jan Magidson
(10/06/1949 – 03/16/2011)
Bill Diana
(08/25/1930 – 06/13/2011)

The Book Is Dedicated to:

Nancy Magidson, Errol’s Wife without whose encouragement it might not have been written.

Tales from the Parapet

Mayor of Chicago?

Not until after the documentary was completed, was it discovered that in 1897, Givins was a candidate for mayor of Chicago. His picture appeared on page 1 of the Chicago Eagle newspaper.

Ties to the Ukrainian Pavilion at the Chicago World's Fair?

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.

For Sale

After the documentary was completed, Errol discovered that Givins had placed an advertisement in the Chicago Daily Tribune on April 10, 1908, offering the Castle for sale. In January 1909, the castle was sold for $20,000 to the Burdett family.

Comments About The Book and Film

(On the film) Excellent research, while I believe that I have a better than average knowledge of the community's history, I learned new and interesting facts.

Virginia RugaiFormer Alderman, 19th Ward, Chicago

(On the film) The musical background of the film is simply exquisite.

Kathleen Tobin

(On the film) The film was magnificent...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.

Sue BeverFilmgoer