Cincinnati, Ohio, is
where I was not only born but raised for most of my adult life.
Each year, Bob and I come back to the Cincinnati area in order to
take care of several personal matters, not the least of which are Doctors appointments for both of us. We also try to see our children
and grandchildren, and our many friends who are still in the
area. Since we are so busy doing all of this we generally don't
get much time to write any stories in the area. However, this
year I decided that one of the things I would like to write a
story about was the Loveland Castle. Loveland Castle is the name
the locals have given to this strange building. The name the
builder gave it is Chateau Laroche which means Rock Castle.
Having written about different kinds of castles all over North
America I wanted to immortalize the Castle in my very own home
town. I remembered my father taking
me there as a small child and having the man who was building the
castle giving us a tour. Unlike several of the castles we have
visited, Loveland Castle was not built for love, either realized
or unrequited, unless you want to say it was built for love of
his fellow man. The builder was a man by the name of Harry D.
Andrews. He originally bought the land in 1927, although
additional lots have been added since so that now it sits on
about and acre and a half. The lots were purchased in order that
Mr. Andrews' Sunday School class of young men might have a place
to camp, fish, swim and boat. At first the boys slept in tents
but after about 3 years the tents became so badly decayed that
they were not much good. Mr. Andrews told the boys if they would
fetch stones, he would build them a "stone tent". He
made two small rooms, which are now the bottoms of the two towers
facing the river.
These rooms were only used for a couple of years before the depression came
along; and no one came to the castle regularly for more than
three years. After the depression relaxed a bit and Mr. Andrews
could afford it, he returned to the job of really constructing a
Castle. Most of the construction of the Castle was done by
filling wax milk cartons with concrete. However, there are
several other building materials used, such as: local rocks and
bits and pieces of glass. Occasionally visitors and friends would
attempt to help him out by carrying stones, bringing milk cartons
and even mixing some mortar. However, Mr. Andrews completed more
than 99% of all the work by himself. During WWII there were times
that he could not work because of gasoline rationing and lack of
cement. In fact, during the first twenty-five years he averaged
only a little more than an hour a week on the structure.
Of course, no castle is complete without its knight (or knights).
I just couldn't resist having my picture taken next to "a
knight in shining armor".
After teaching Sunday School for about thirty years, Mr. Andrews
gave up that part of his activities, and began to concentrate on
finishing the Castle. In May, 1955, he retired from his job and came to
camp at the Castle while he worked on completing it. The Castle
includes many nooks and crannies including a dungeon. When one
looks at a building project such as this it is hard not to ask
the question: How much was spent on the building? Surprisingly
only a little more than $12,000.00. However, this does not
include the cost of the more than 23,000 hours of hard labor. The
Castle averages about 30,000 visitors a year. In addition to the
Castle there is a lovely garden outside that features many
flowers native to the greater Cincinnati area. Before Mr.
Andrews' death a group was formed called the Knights of the
Golden Trail for the express purpose of caring for the Castle
after his death. Mr. Andrews died in April of 1981 and the
Knights have taken over not only showing visitors through the
Castle but also seeing to its maintenance and repair. From what I
saw on my most recent visit, I'm sure that Mr. Andrews left the
Castle in most capable hands. Check out their website for more information http://www.lovelandcastle.com.