There’s a castle in Chicago?
At 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 what is now the Beverly Hills & Morgan Park community, the Castle has had only five castle keepers, each with fascinating stories.
The goals of this project are:
1) to preserve and publicize the history of the iconic Castle and its five keepers
2) and to raise money for its preservation and maintenance.
In June 2011, this project received a special award of $10,000 from noted Chicago philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus.
Comments About The Book and Film
Virginia RugaiFormer Alderman, 19th Ward, Chicago
“(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.”
“(On the film) The musical background of the film is simply exquisite.”
“(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.”
“Surprisingly informative, this history covers a broad range of subjects: Chicago history, sociology, industry, geology, religion, civil liberties and architecture, among others. The man who had the castle built and the people who lived there were a fascinating mix of movers & shakers in Chicago - a level or so below Potter Palmer, but every bit as important. I read the book cover to cover and just loved it.”
“I took drama lessons there in the 50's. I was so happy to learn about the history. The colored,photos were beautiful There was nothing I didn't like!”
“This is a beautiful book about this fascinating building.”
Tales from the Parapet
In 1897, Givins was a candidate for mayor of Chicago. His picture appeared on page 1 of the Chicago Eagle newspaper.
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.
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.