A breathtaking castle nestled among the pines on Daniel’s Parkway might be one of Douglas County’s best-kept secrets, but that is slowly changing …
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A breathtaking castle nestled among the pines on Daniel’s
Parkway might be one of Douglas County’s best-kept secrets, but
that is slowly changing thanks to a dying wish of the home’s last
The Cherokee Ranch & Castle sits atop a cliff off of
Daniel’s Park Road.
Modeled after a 1400s Scottish castle, the home was built in the
1920s by its original owner, Charles A. Johnson, the developer of
Denver’s historic Park Hill neighborhood.
Mildred Montigue Genevieve Kimball, known as “Tweet” Kimball,
was the second owner to call the castle home, where she lived and
raised her two sons following her move from California in the
mid-1950s, said Meg Anderson, Kimball’s 23-year friend and
Anderson and her husband John Lake worked for Kimball until her
death in 1999 and recall a remarkable woman who would never take no
for an answer.
Her life’s final goal is an example of her determination, when
she established a foundation in the hopes the 10,000-square-foot
castle could become a respite and education center for its
wildlife, arts and cultural value.
Today, the Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation is well on its
way to making her dream come true.
Before she died, Kimball invested five years of effort to place
the property’s 3,100 acres into a Douglas County conservation
easement, permanently protecting it and its wildlife inhabitants
from future development.
Kimball on May 8 received posthumous honors from the Castle Rock
Chamber of Commerce, which bestowed Kimball and the foundation with
the PS Miller Award, recognizing her philanthropic gesture to
It is an award that’s well-deserved, as the foundation moves
forward with public events to foster arts and culture, said Donna
Wilson, CEO of the Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation.
Wilson came on board for the foundation after a career at the
University of Denver.
She is spearheading the effort to see the castle make the final
transition from a wedding and event venue to a cultural and
wildlife education center for generations to come.
Wilson proves a good match for the castle, which is filled with
historic art, furniture and literature collection Kimball began
gathering not long after the end of WWII.
Kimball was the only child of a well-to-do Southern family,
She married a man of similar means and the two settled in
California until they began divorce proceedings in 1953.
As Anderson tells it, Kimball’s soon-to-be-ex husband promised
to buy her any house she wanted, as long as she relocated west of
the Mississippi River.
With a desire to run a cattle ranch, Kimball chose the castle,
which she filled with treasures collected in post-WWII London, when
family estates were in liquidation to pay off taxes, Lake said.
Over the years, the castle would welcome visitors from all walks
of life, including Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of England,
Prince Bernhardt of The Netherlands, Winthrop Rockefeller and many
more, Anderson said.
Lest people think Kimball led a pampered and self-indulgent
existence, however, Lake shares his favorite “Tweet” story —
illustrating the spirit of a can-do woman who wasn’t afraid of any
In 1991, Anderson’s daughter was getting married and Kimball was
anxious to open the castle for a part — any part — of the
celebration. The bride and groom settled on a brunch the day after
Anderson and Lake arrived at the castle the morning of the
brunch, armed with food for the guests, and happened upon a
77-year-old Kimball hauling a pair of 5-gallon buckets of water up
the 2-mile-long driveway.
“We asked ‘What are you doing?’ and in her inimitable style she
said ‘Well the water went out at the castle and you must have
water’,” Lake said. “That is the perfect Tweet Kimball story,
nothing stood in her way of getting things done.”
The legacy of a woman renowned for her generosity reflects that
generous spirit, with the foundation that in 2006 launched an
annual performing arts series with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Chamber Music, the Denver Center Theater Co., the Denver Brass and
the DU Lamont School of Music, Wilson said.
This year the foundation adds community performances featuring
local talent for a diverse experience to draw new audiences.
The concerts are in addition to the public teas and tours,
school tours, wildlife tracking and geology expeditions, nature
camps and literary events — all hosted by the foundation.
“We are so excited because it’s our first attempt at a cultural
and education center in Douglas County,” Wilson said. “That’s our
whole goal — to be a resource for Douglas County. We’re very
excited about that.”
The Cherokee Ranch & Castle is in Sedalia, fewer than 15
minutes north of Castle Rock, at 6113 N. Daniel’s Park Road, off of
The concert series begins in May and continues through December,
For more information visit the Web site at www.cherokeeranch.org or call
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