Monday, June 29, 2009

Visiting Stokes Castle

To get a real taste of summertime in Nevada, take a trip to see Stokes Castle and the surrounding country—just like the Stokes family did over one-hundred years ago! This unique three-story stone tower is located just outside of town and offers a spectacular view.

Construction of the castle began in the fall of 1896 and the building was completed in June, 1897, by Anson Phelps Stokes, mine developer, railroad magnate and member of a prominent eastern family. It was built as a summer home for his sons, principally J.G. Phelps. After the castle (or the tower, as the Stokes family always referred to it) was completed, it was used by the family for one brief period in June and July, 1897. Since then, with one possible exception, the structure has remained unoccupied.

Stokes Castle is made of native granite, hewn and put in place by the ancestors of people that still live in Austin. The huge stones were raised with a hand-winch and held in position by rock wedging and clay mortar. The architectural model for the castle was a medieval tower Anson Stokes had seen and admired on an Italian campagna, near Rome. It originally had three floors, each with a fireplace, plate glass view windows, balconies on the second and third floors, and a battlemented terrace on the roof. It had plumbing very adequate for the times and was sumptuously furnished. The structure stands as an abiding monument to the local men who built it and to those who helped develop the mines of Austin.

Learn more about the history of Austin at