Come home to the Castle

Posted 5/19/09

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 …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2018-2019, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Come home to the Castle

Posted

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 owner.

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 employee.

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 county residents.

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, Anderson said.

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 challenge.

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 the wedding.

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 Colorado 85.

The concert series begins in May and continues through December, Wilson said.

For more information visit the Web site at www.cherokeeranch.org or call 303-688-5555.

Castle

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.