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Givins’ Irish Castle

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 Project

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.

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 Grant

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

The Book

A companion to the documentary, the second edition book has over 500 images, including important documents, photographs, and newspaper articles, that help tell the Castle-keepers’ many stories.

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.

Kathleen TobinFilmgoer

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

Sue BeverFilmgoer

(On the film) The film was 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.

Amazon Testimonial

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.

Amazon Testimonial

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!

Amazon Testimonial

This is a beautiful book about this fascinating building.

Tales from the Parapet

Mayor of Chicago?

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.

(Off Photo) Longwood Boulevard (Now Longwood Drive)
(Possibly) Ridge Country Club’s Carnival of September 1909
Sleeping porch
Crenelated towers
In Memorium

The Documentary Was Produced in Loving Memory Of:

The Book Is Dedicated to: