Indiana is well-known for its fast cars and Abraham Lincoln, but castles? Indeed. There are dozens of fairytale fortresses, towers and turrets peppered across the Hoosier State, you just need to know where to look. From one of the United States’ largest Benedictine communities to eye-popping luxury hotels, here are seven of the best castles in Indiana.
Where are the best castles in Indiana?
Built between 1927 and 1931 by architect Cosbey Bernard Senior, Joseph Ernest Meyer used this sprawling castle as his private residence. By that point, he had already made big bucks in herbology and became one of Hammond’s first millionaires. Inspired by a Scottish castle he saw on a trip to the UK, he settled on commissioning a castle for himself. These days it’s one of the state’s most popular wedding venues, complete with a dining room inspired by a traditional English pub.
This Romanesque Revival building is one of the most handsome castles in Indiana. Also known as “Castle on the Hill”, it’s one of the largest communities of Benedictine women in the United States. The order built the monastery between 1886 and 1888. They later added to the quadrangle in 1903 and Viktor Klutho constructed the impressive chapel in 1915. There are 89 angels dotted around the castle, 16 of which feature on the stained glass windows in the dome. The castle and grounds are open to the public for tours from Tuesday to Sunday. Call ahead to book an appointment.
This medieval-inspired castle stretches across an eye-popping 120 acres in the heart of west-central Indiana. It offers five sumptuous rooms for guests looking for a royally good nights’ sleep, with name names like the “Tournament Room” and the “Enchanted Forest”. Or if you’re feeling flush, you can rent the entire castle for events. Clayshire Castle also hosts the annual Medieval Faire, a renaissance-filled day of jousting, live music, falconry and entertainment.
Described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, the West Baden Springs Hotel looks like it’s been plucked straight out of a fairytale. From its 200-ft tall atrium and snow-white turrets to its impeccably manicured lawns, it oozes royal glamour. The property was built in the mid-19th century and has always been prized for its wellness offering. Back then, people flocked here for the famous “miracle waters” from the hot springs, said to cure any ailment. These days, R&R comes in the form of soul-stirring spa experiences, massages and treatments. The hotel is also a member of Historic Hotels.
Built in 1893, this city building and former jail now house 27,000 artefacts and photos telling the story of Allen County. Local architect firm Wing & Mahurin built the castle in a Richardsonian Romanesque style in sandstone. For years, it served as the city hall, until the council moved it to the City-County Building in the 1970s.
The museum is open to the public from Monday to Saturday and on the first Sunday of each month. Tickets cost $6 for adults, and $4 for seniors, students and children. Children under 2 years of age go free. Permanent exhibits include: Earliest Inhabitants, Miami Indian History and Anthony Wayne.
This enchanting castle sits on Snow Lake in Fremont. It looks a lot older than its years though, the Gunkels only completed their 3,400-sq.ft three-story medieval castle replica in 2001. There’s also a 6.5 ft “crawl space” and decks out onto the roof. Unlike most European castles, there’s nothing fuddy-duddy about this sprawling mansion, which boasts an elevator, games room, 10-person hot tub and decks from almost every room. Music can be heard from every corner of the house too, thanks to a state-of-the-art speaker system. While it is a private residence, visitors can book a tour of the property.
While it might not be a castle in name, it certainly is by nature. Wing & Mahurin (yes, they also built Fort Wayne Historical Center) designed this impressive building in 1893 in a Richardsonian Romanesque style with limestone. It was used as the fire station until 1979 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Palaces in 1981.