Thank you, all, so much for making Nikki and Nicks wedding dreams come true. We all appreciate everything you and your staffs did to so courteously and professionally take such great care of our family and wedding guests. The evening was a complete success. My sincerest thanks!
- Sandy Friedin"
About The Dunafon Castle
Castle Springs Ranch castle is located 15 ½ miles west of Denver in beautiful Bear Creek Canyon on Denver Mountain Parks roads: six miles west of Mt. Morrison Colorado, and six miles east of Evergreen, Colorado, midway between Idledale and Kittredge. Low altitude 6640 feet above sea level, (front yard).
The castle, completed in 1941, is built on a peninsula facing one of the finest views to be seen anywhere. The crystal-clear waters of Bear Creek flow around this place in a semicircle, which adds much to its beauty and splendor and the evolutionary sound of this roaring stream and other water falls adds to its value, promoting rest and sleep. The exceptional scenery of “THE CASTLE” is evidenced by the fact that for over thirty years there has been colored picture postcards sold on display everywhere of this location before improvements were made.
The nearest house, that of C.C. Gates, (Gates Rubber Company) is approximately one mile up stream. The Castle Springs property consists of approximately one hundred forty acres and is bordered on the west by one of Denver's finest mountain parks.
The front yard of this home consists of approximately one hundred native evergreentrees, and the landscaping consists of three trout lakes, capable of raising, with proper care, several thousand pounds of mountain trout per year. These lakes are so located that the bottom of each higher lake is even with the top of each lower lake so the fish can be turned automatically from one higher lake to its next lower lake, thereby having all trout three years old and older in the lower lake which is directly in front of the house. Into this lake falls the beautiful picturesque spillway of the large over-shot water wheel which is described later. The front yard adjoining the house is dead level with stream and island and is pattered after a famous view taken at Cypress Gardens, Florida.
A miniature electric railroad, 18 inch gauge, charged with low voltage positive and negative, 12 pound rails, surrounds this property and is located between the above lakes and the river, and is approximately ½ mile long. The electric, streamlined, train now being built has an electric motor on every axle of the entire train, which gives quick starting, stopping and ability to climb the necessary grades.
No other miniature train in the world, in the opinion of the writer, can offer such scenic beauty to its passengers.
DESCRIPTION OF RESIDENCE
This home of Marcus Wright, the castle architecture was completed in 1941. It consists of fourteen rooms, four baths, seven closets, and a four-car garage. All buildings are strictly fire-proof, being built of steel reinforced concrete, beautiful stone exterior and flat slab floor construction with monolithic terrazzo floors; floors that are practically indestructible and of unusual beauty.
It is claimed by many to be one of the most complete electrical homes ever built. The electricity is free, being generated by its own hydro-electric plants which are located approximately eight feet from the residence. (Completely described page 7).
The one hundred and two interior light fixtures of this home are a masterpiece and were especially made at a tremendous cost. They are made entirely of metal and in keeping with the architecture of this house, resemble miniature castles. Each fixture contains four degrees of light. All bedroom fixtures are also equipped with evolution lights to induce sleep.
All hardware and doorknobs were especially made. The doorknobs are made of special cast metal and resemble a curled maple leaf. The doors can be opened with the tip of one finger. There are many other novel features about this item that are too numerous to mention.
All outside doors and door to power house pass with the same key.
All windows are mounted in large pre-cast reinforced concrete openings. These windows have double plate glass, which are mounted in steel window frames and like all other openings in the house, are full circle heads.
Windows are pivoted in the center at both top and bottom and being of a butterfly type, they move with extreme ease. A strong wind cannot change their position when left partly open. Also, when a window is fully opened it represents an opening of approximately ninety-five percent of the entire space. The windows can revolve completely around and it makes no difference which side remains out.
The two-plate glass in each window frame is spaced approximately thirteen sixteenths of an inch apart, which is the most efficient air space in repelling heat or cold. It also affords clear vision during extreme cold weather as no ice or frost ever appears on windows due to the above insulating space.
The glass windows are of one pane (no munnion bars) which gives greater visibility of the marvelous views; also, windows can be washed with greater ease.
KITCHEN AND BREAKFAST NOOK
Everything is built in of steel. Six plate, double oven electric range of steel. Cupboard work consists of fourteen large steel drawers, three small steel drawers, six swing type drawers, and two circular sliding shelf enclosures (under sink). Large dumbwaiter from wine or fruit cellar. Electric refrigerator with eight special steel drawers built under same. General Electric dishwasher was built in. Two stainless steel sinks with three faucets each for cold, hot, and boiling water. Telephone, which can be used either in the kitchen hallway, or living room, is enclosed in neat stainless steel circle top with door compartment. Incinerator built in and large enough so no cleaning out need be done but once a year. Concealed built-in laundry chute from kitchen and hall. Door from kitchen to back porch and back yard with no steps up or down.
Breakfast nook table is round, made of 3/4' thick solid steel which revolves on a single steel shaft, built in as part of the floor. Large self-supporting seat in reversible red upholstery, which is circular around the table, will seat six or more and no table or chair leg interference.
The kitchen and breakfast nook have four light fixtures, of the semi-recessed type, and six switches, six electric receptacles, and six windows.
Large living room with large built-in fireplace of the Heatolater type, made of approximately 1/2" steel plate. One end of this living room is arranged for and equipped with a seven foot Steinway Grand Piano. This living room is large enough for dancing and like all floors in the entire home, it is made of terrazzo.
It has a large winding stairway going out of one end to the downstairs. Twelve light fixtures, three switches, nine electric receptacles, and four windows.
This is the main tower room and is equipped with extra large round antique table. A concealed place in the room is so arranged that draft beer, water, etc., can be installed.
When seated at the table for dinner; everyone can command a view, across the table, of the mountains, the canyon, the trees, the roaring river, and the large over-shot water wheel of the power house. This is without doubt, one of the most picturesque views that can possibly be imagined.
MAIN MASTER BEDROOM
This is the semi-tower bedroom, which will easily accommodate two bedroom suites with double beds, with bathroom entrance between the two beds. There are two extra large closets. The bath has especially tiled electric heated tub and shower. A built-in medicine cabinet has a large fluorescent type light on each side.
Through the large windows in the bedroom you can command an especially fine view of the lakes, the river, and mountain forest.
This room has fourteen light fixtures, six switches, fourteen electric receptacles and five windows.
This hall connects three bedrooms, linen closet, and bath with either living room or kitchen. There are two lights and four switches.
Fourteen large steel shelves and also room for vacuum cleaners, sewing machine, tec., one light fixture and one switch.
Full tile bath, especially tiled with electrically heated tub and shower. Three lights, one switch, and three electric receptacles. A built-in medicine cabinet has long fluorescent light on each side.
Will take full size bed in four locations. It is equipped with lavatory and has large clothes closet.
Seven light fixtures, three switches, six electric receptacles, and two windows.
CENTER BEDROOM AND NURSERY
Will take bed in three locations. Has large clothes closet; also has private lavatory. Seven light fixtures, three switches, and four electric receptacles.
This connects the back porch with living room, kitchen, and bedrooms, Has laundry chute, one light fixture and one switch.
Has terrazzo floor. Two lights with one switch. Can be totally glassed or screened in. All of the above constitutes the main floor of the house.
The winding stairs leading from the main living room to the first floor are an engineering accomplishment, being made of terrazzo and individually supported entirely by the masonry wall. A space of approximately one-inch between the steps makes it possible for a straight carpet to be centered down these steps with extreme ease without the use of tacks, nails, or screws.
There are three windows spaced equal distance apart that one passes going up or down these steps which command a view of unusual magnitude; the center of each of these windows being the same height as average adult. Four light fixtures are used to illuminate this marvelous stairway at night.
LARGE RECEPTION ROOM
This is a large room with the main first floor entrance of the house and equipped with a large fireplace of the Heatolater type of approximately 1/2" steel plate. This room has bath adjoining and was intended by the designer for use by Boy or Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls, etc., being large enough for some thirty or forty cots. Equipped with eight fixtures, six switches six electric receptacles. Glass entrance door and two windows.
This is the lower tower bedroom being directly under dining room and commands an excellent view, second only to the dining room above Three light fixtures, two electric switches, two electric receptacles, and four windows.
LOWER CENTER BEDROOM
Will take bed four ways. Adjoining bathroom. Three lights, two switches, three receptacles, and one window.
LOWER MAIN GUEST BEDROOM
Will take two bedroom suites. Equipped with extra large closet. This room has special outside exit. This is a tower bedroom and from its large four windows, the marvelous view of the trout lakes, the roaring river, and the mountain forest can be had. This bedroom has a tiled bath with shower. Six light fixtures, three switches, five electric receptacles, and four windows.
LOWER GREEN BATHROOM
This bathroom is in beautiful green tile with shower bath. It has four lights, one switch, and three electric receptacles.
LARGE YELLOW BATHROOM
This bathroom is done in yellow tile with shower bath. Five lights, one switch, and one receptacle.
LOWER CONNECTING HALL
Two lights with one switch.
This is a large laundry room with drain in the floor. Has laundry tubs, electric washer, and electric mangle large enough for sheets. Also has an emergency cooking range. This room has been used for caretakers quarters. The outside entrance door is level with the ground floor and there are no steps up or down to the outside clothes line from this laundry room.
HOT WATER STORAGE ROOM
This room has an extra large, extra heavy hot water storage tank, approximately three feet in diameter and approximately sixteen feet long. It holds enough hot water for over one hundred baths; thus, it is practically impossible to run out of hot water. This large hot water storage tank is equipped with a General Electric immersion-heating element, which costs nothing to heat from free waterpower.
HALL FROM GARAGE INTO HOUSE
Inasmuch as all of the lower rooms are approximately three feet above the ground at the front and sides of this house, a long hall is built on a gradual slope upward from the garage and there are no steps. This ramp is very gradual and runs nearly the full length of the house. It connects to two bathrooms (one mens and one ladies) and also the wine cellar, the laundry room, and hot water storage room, and the rumpus room. This hall is daylighted with one window at one end, has four lights, and two switches.
FOUR CAR GARAGE
This is one extra large room without supports or obstructions and designed so it can be used for a large picnic dinner pavilion. Each one of the four large garage steel doors are on separate tracks and are so arranged that all are out of the way and concealed when not in use. A provision has been made for cooking and serving for as many as one hundred from this spot and a short distance away through the hall there is access to both mens and ladies rest rooms. The designer had in mind the use of this for employees and other group picnics. This large garage also has a beautiful terrazzo floor, which can be used for dancing.
FRUIT AND WINE CAVE ROOM
This cave is built of rough exposed stone surrounded on all sides by mountainous rocks and extends out under the back yard. It has two hundred and fifty square feet of shelving. Has one light and one switch, and a dumbwaiter leading to the kitchen.
This is one large unfinished room with eight feet ceiling and without obstructions. It runs the full length of the house and is under all of the lower rooms mentioned above. It is wired with twenty-two outlets and can be used for a large amusement room, bowling alley, shooting gallery, etc.
At the rear of this home there is a large wide stairway going up to the top of this house which is practically flat, surrounded by a stone parapet wall. There has been several hundred people on top of this roof at one time, which, like many of the rooms in the house, commands a beautiful view of the river, canyon, and forest.
Under the above stairway is a woodshed, which will hold several cords of wood for fireplace. Garden tools, lawn mower, etc.; are also kept there. Equipped with one window, one light, and one switch.
OTHER ELECTRIC LIGHTS
Around the top of this house and concealed are seventeen electric bulb outlets. All of these lights are controlled from any one of four places, namely, the master bedroom, the dining room, kitchen, and the garage. There are also two suitable light fixtures on each side of the main front door entrance. There is also one over outside of laundry room door, which is controlled by one switch inside the door entrance.
This building houses two complete hydro-electric plants. One is a forty-kilowatt unit directly connected to a James Leffel Turbine Water Wheel. The other is a sixty-kilowatt unit geared directly to a large twenty foot seven inch diameter by ten-foot wide steel over-shot water wheel. The above plants are supplied with water through an underground water tunnel from head race and dam across Bear Creek.
An over-shot water wheel is a very important point of interest having been a subject of art for thousands of years. This wheel is also an important part of the landscaping. The house is so arranged that from many of the rooms this wheel can be seen in operation as well as from a good part of the grounds.
This power house was made in accordance with the present day construction of the most modern plants and like the house, is built fireproof. It too, is built of reinforced concrete with beautiful stone exterior.
There are crane way rails on each side at the ceiling with recessed light fixtures in the ceiling. There is a four square foot tunnel that goes from this power house to the main residence which is used to convey all water pipes, electric wires, and wire electric conduit pipes from power house to the main residence. The water works unit is also located in the power house.
A winding stairway leads from the main floor to the basement of this power house. There are four light fixtures inside of this building and five around top of power house. Two windows and one large steel and glass front approximately eight feet wide by eight feet high daylights this most important building.
Castle Springs Ranch is owned by Mr. M. C. Wright who owns and operates an engineering and manufacturing business in Denver. Over ten years (spare time) were spent by him and his staff in its engineering and designing.
It is of Grecian Castle Architecture, Native Mountain exterior, chosen because it is in keeping with the mountains and it lends itself to fireproof reinforced concrete construction. It is most economical from a maintenance standpoint. Outside of the tinting of the interior walls, there is practically nothing to paint. The floors are monolithic terrazzo which requires no maintenance except for a slight waxing once every two years. Any room in this home can be reached by a person, even if in a wheel chair, with no steps up or down, by using the outside entrance.
It is said the free electric power that this place produces would cost over twenty thousand dollars per year if purchased through an outside source.
DISTANCE TO AND FROM CASTLE SPRINGS RANCH - IN MILES
|West||From Ranch Road Down|
|Castle Springs Ranch||
|C.C. Gates Home||
|Junction Indian Hills Road||
|Junction Stronghurst Road||
|East||From Ranch Road Down||From Shop Road Up|
|Castle Springs Ranch 1st Bridge||0.0 0.2||18.6 18.4|
|East Property Line||
|Mountain Nook Ranch||
|Little Park, Idledale, Colo.||
|Intake Morrison Water Wks.||
|CCC Camp & Red Rocks Rd.||
|Junction Turkey Creek Rd.||
|Morrison Tel. Exchange||
THE BARNES CASTLE (written 1975)
The residence at Castle Springs Ranch along with a surrounding twelve acres was purchased in 1970 by Tamsin G. and William M. Barnes. Mr. Wright had died approximately twelve years before and the castle had gone into trust with the First National Bank of Denver. During those twelve years, the castle was sometimes empty, sometimes rented out. At one time it had even become a "cat house", or house of prostitution and gambling.
When the Barnes bought it the castle and grounds were in terrible shape. The roof leaked, water was running down the inside walls out of the conduit, about seven of the special castle light fixtures were gone, only thirty percent of the electrical wiring worked, the power house was inoperable, and the grounds and lakes were overgrown like a jungle. Following is a description of the changes made by the Barnes family:
About 75 black willow and other scrub trees were cut down opening up the grounds and allowing the lakes to run free. Fruit trees, hopa crabs, and low evergreens were planted to add color. Concrete bridges were built over the moats and to the Picnic Island. While the train tracks remained, all cars were gone. A small flat car was built as a temporary vehicle. A used diesel engine and cars have been purchased from an amusement park and plans are to get them back into working order.
The kitchen has been completely remodeled leaving only the 3/4" steel breakfast nook table. The wall between the kitchen and hall has been removed eliminating the hall and enlarging the kitchen. A Franklin stove has been installed in place of the incinerator for warming wood fires during winter mornings. The laundry chute and dumb waiter have been covered with an island type electric range. The entire kitchen is carpeted.
MAIN MASTER BEDROOM
A king size round bed is installed in this bedroom with velvet orange bedspread and velvet drapes. The entire floor and bathroom is carpeted in white shag.
Eliminated to enlarge the kitchen.
Entirely glassed-in, carpeted with astro-turf grass carpet. Corner closet added for coats. Decorated with waterfall and wrought iron furniture.
LARGE RECEPTION ROOM
This beautiful room is now a library, three walls being completely lined floor to ceiling with bookshelves. The area under the spiral staircase is lined with stone and contains a large waterfall for an interior garden effect.
This room adjoining the Library is now a game room, Both the library and game room are decorated in jungle motif and are fully carpeted.
HOT WATER STORAGE ROOM
The extra large water tank is removed and a modern tank is installed. This room is used for general storage.
HALL FROM GARAGE INTO HOUSE
This hall has been converted into an art gallery, and still offers passage from the garage to the mens and ladies rest rooms.
FOUR CAR GARAGE
This lovely large room has been converted into a party and entertainment room. Modern light fixtures have been installed along the walls, and an electric range and refrigerator provide cooking facilities. Full size gambling equipment has been built by William Barnes including a crap table, a wheel of fortune, a black-jack table, and a motorized as large as 216 people have been held in this room, serving them dinner, providing dancing and gambling with paper money.
Future plans include building a swimming pool just outside this room.
A modern crane has been installed in the power house to facilitate repair of the two generators. A small generator has been installed attached to the turbine and provides electricity to the train tracks. Future plans include complete repair of the power house.
SUMMARY AND ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
All rooms in the house have been carpeted with the exception of the two downstairs bedrooms.
Sometime after 1952, a garage was built behind the house to house the train cars. Bill Barnes added to the top of this building a metal 25 foot long mechanized fire-breathing dragon to welcome guests and Halloween tricksters.