One would expect to see a traditional castle in Europe but not one near Cincinnati in Loveland, Ohio. Chateau Laroche, also known as the Loveland Castle, sits in a wooded area on the banks of the Little Miami River. The Castle was built by WWI veteran and medievalist Harry D. Andrews and was named after the military hospital housed in Chateau de La Roche in France where he was a medic in the war.
Harry Andrews started building the castle in 1929 and continued construction until his death in 1981 at the age of 91. Stones were carried from the nearby Little Miami River up the banks and steep hill to the castle in buckets. Per a video interview with Mr. Andrews, approximately 50,000 buckets of stones were brought up from the river by hand with each bucket containing eleven stones and weighing a total of 65 pounds. When the stone supply was exhausted, bricks made from cement and formed in paper milk cartons were used.
Once Mr. Andrews retired from his work as a teacher and editor he moved into the castle and lived there until his death. In addition to the castle he built extensive gardens in which he grew vegetables year round in hotbeds of his own design. The beds were heated with railroad lanterns. The castle was complete with a secret room that was hidden in one of the arches in the garden. The room was discovered after it collapsed from years of neglect.
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The castle is under the care of the KOGT – Knights of the Golden Trail Boy Scout Troop as Mr. Andrews willed it to them upon his death in 1981. The Knights continued to work on construction of the castle as it was not completed before the death of Mr. Andrews. Today it is open to the public as a museum, for Scouts to use for overnight trips, school tours and it is also available for rent as a venue for small weddings. The museum is open on weekends from October – March and daily from April – September from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission price is $5 per person for ages 6 and up. Children 5 and under are free. Parking is available on-site free of charge. The streets leading to the castle are not RV friendly with steep hills and narrow switchbacks.
We highly enjoyed our visit to Castle Laroche and would recommend it to others. Accessing the second and third floors of the castle require walking up steep spiral staircases with uneven steps. Handrails are present but the stairs are difficult to navigate. Continue scrolling below for more pictures of the castle and grounds.
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