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Berkeley Castle, Berkeley Springs, WV

Berkeley Castle is located on Warm Springs Ridge overlooking the town of Bath (Berkeley Springs), the most popular mineral springs in the country during the mid 1880’s.

In 1885, Colonel Taylor Suit commissioned a cottage to be built for his new bride, Rose Pelham. Snowden Ashford, a U.S. Government architect, was hired for the project. The design was by A.D. Mullett, who had designed what is now the Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.  For Suit’s castle, Mullett copied a half-scale replica of the Berkeley Castle in England.

The castle is built of massive stone on a rock foundation. The large granite blocks were carved from nearby Great Cacapon Mountain. The blocks cos ten dollars a piece and the masons who set them in place were paid eight cents an hour. The castle walls are from one to three feet thick and the entire structure is built into the mountainside. A battlement tower rises high above the trees and is marked by the three crosses of St. George, Patron Saint of England. To give the castle an Old World look, English ivy, reportedly from Shakespeare’s home at Stratford-on-Avon, was planted to climb the south wall.

The castle construction began in 1885 and took three years to complete. The construction cost on the 15 room castle was an estimated $100,000. The castle is currently owned by Walter M. Bird and is maintained as a museum open to the public.

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