A water engineer named Marcus Wright originally designed this incredible and breath-taking property. He started the development in 1929 and completed it in 1941. Mr. Wright built the Castle himself using the narrow gauge railroad he installed to haul native granite and concrete to the property. Due to the fact that there was no electricity in Bear Creek Canyon at the time, he fashioned an electrical generating facility using the overshoot water wheel. As you can see, he took every detail into consideration. Many of his building ideas were unique and ahead of his time. For example, the castle was built with wheelchair accessibility 50 years before it was a building requirement. However, because he fashioned the castle after Celtic Castles of the 13th century, he included many features one would find in those ancient castles. These features include the amazing turrets, the handmade light fixtures, the tunnels, the thick rock walls, and the arched center, double paned, pivot windows.
Mr. Wright lost his life to cancer and the Barnes Family acquired the castle in 1969. Not only did they maintain the grounds, but they made many sweeping changes to the Castle as well. On Halloween morning of 1999, Mr. Barnes, his wife and one of his three daughters boarded the Air Egypt Flight 990 that mysteriously dove into the Atlantic Ocean… Due to the overwhelming maintenance of the property, surviving daughter, Lisa Barnes put the Castle on the market. After rejecting many offers, Lisa Barnes swears that her parents appeared to her in the driveway and insisted that the castle should go to the current owner.
The current owner and her family are 4th and 5th generation Jefferson County natives. They discovered the property in the spring of 2004, and purchased it in August of that year. The Castle and the overgrown property were just waiting to be reborn. With the help of living members of the Wright family, members of the Barnes Family, and more than 200 men from the Step 13 program, the property was restored to it’s former self.
Annie Schumacher has been the Charity Events Coordinator since the 2009 wedding season. She loves what she does and the people she gets to meet along the way. She lives in Golden with her husband, three children and two dogs.
A portion of every event at the Dunafon Castle goes to help the Step 13 program. Founded in 1983, Step 13 is a non-profit, transitional living program for addicted homeless men who show a desire to give up their alcohol, drug, shelter and soup kitchen dependency cycle and become productive members of society. Most of the support staff at the castle are former or current members of the Step 13 Program.