Dunham Castle Tour in My Own Home Town

August 21, 2013

Not many of us can say that we've been in a real castle.  I can, since my husband and I honeymooned in Ireland where we stayed in manor houses and castles.  But right in your own home town?  I'd say that's pretty unusual.  Unless you live in my hometown of Wayne, Illinois. If you're a follower of Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} you might remember reading about the quaint village I live in here.

In the village, a few miles from our home, is a "castle" built by a local family more than 130 years ago.  As you can see from the photo, it was fashioned after a French chateau.  Over the years it's fallen into disrepair and, sadly, the last family to own it had to give it up.  I was always curious about what it looked like inside, so I was happy to receive an invitation to an open house there recently.  Sit back, relax, and take the tour with me, won't you?

Let's start with some outside shots.

I l-o-v-e ivy-clad walls!

Growing up, I always wished I lived in a house with a turret.  Still do.

The windows are just beautiful.

Unfortunately this one's gone.

There were large pieces of the original architecture lying on the ground, waiting to be restored back to their original spots on the roof of the building.

And now for the inside.  We were only allowed to walk around the main floor, as the place is in such disrepair that it wasn't safe to walk anywhere else in the house.

The work on the ceilings and the moldings throughout were spectacular.


 Some of the walls are still covered in tapestry, which you can see here. 

Other walls are just plain crumbling. It was neat to see past "lives" of the walls through the different layers.

The first room we saw when we entered has this beautiful parquet floor.  The work is exquisite.

I counted 4 fireplaces.  This is fireplace number one.

 Fireplace number two.

Fireplace number three.  There were some really interesting painted tiles or inlays on this one.

I THINK this used to be a fireplace?

We weren't allowed to go upstairs, but you can see how this stairwell needs work.

And this was the only piece of furniture.  Notice the "CAUTION" tape to your right.  The place really is a hazard in its current state.

That's not to say that we didn't have a lovely visit, which ended with some sweet treats and iced tea, all underneath a pretty white tent.

A local developer wants to turn it into an events destination, for weddings and the like.  Word on the street is that it will take 7 million dollars to achieve his goal, renovations and additions included.  Wow.  The immediate neighbors aren't happy one bit, since the land is in no way zoned for commercial.  But I do think he'll keep things tasteful, and restore it to it's former glory to boot.  If you're interested, you can read all about it here. Then let me know, what do YOU think?  Should the developer be allowed to go through with the renovations? If he's not allowed to go forward with them we're not really sure about the fate of the castle. 

I must say it's pretty neat to be able to drive by a "castle" almost every day, and feel a part of the history that goes along with it.  It's one of the reasons why we love living here. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour! 

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Leave a Comment!

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

She's a real beauty and a lovely sight even in her current condition. Did you get a sore neck taking pictures of the ceiling? I'll have to read all about the restoration plans, but it would be such a shame to not bring her back to her original glory.

Unknown said...

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Ivy and Elephants said...

The castle is enchanting to say the least. It would be a shame to lose such a treasured bit of architecture.
I hope the renovations are allowed, at least then it will be preserved.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

That would have been so fun to tour. I say let him restore it, or lose it! Of course I am not the next door neighbor!


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