Written by Aishah Eljirby
This summer our family has been reminiscing past trips to Europe, we miss visiting the beautiful historic castles and sampling new and exciting cultures. With travel abroad put on hold, I knew there had to be a way to find something nearby that would fill that void. After much searching, I came across a real-life Castle that is located right in the Midwest. I knew I had to check this place out, and after visiting this beautiful castle, I highly recommend it for families who want to explore a new place nearby.
Historic Chateau LaRoche, Loveland Castle
Harry D. Andrews was born on April 5, 1890. He attended Colgate College, where he learned seven languages and had an I.Q. of 189. Afterwards he was sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey to train for the first World War. During his time in New Jersey, meningitis swept through the training camp killing 7000 troops, and what they thought Andrews as well. After being in a morgue for two days, doctors decided to inject Andrew with adrenaline where he came back to life and made a full recovery from the illness.
After Andrews illness, he helped doctors treat patients with meningitis through blood transfusions. Due to his act, he decided to become a medic during World War I and was sent to Château LaRoche, France. During his time in France, Andrews saved an English Nobleman’s son and was dubbed with Knighthood for his heroic act. He also studied architecture at Toulouse University. Upon his return back home, he founded a boy scout troop called “The Knights of the Golden Trail (KOGT).” The young men in the troop are bound by an oath to restore nobility and civility to modern society just as the knights of old did for Medieval Europe. Their only governing rules are the ten commandments.
In 1927, Sir Andrews decided that his troop of knights needed a proper castle, he used the land donated from a newspaper subscription contest to start building Château LaRoche along the Miami River. He used stone from the river to construct the castle, once he retired in 1955 his castle construction went into full gear and he spent the rest of his life building onto his castle and adding all the little details to make it a proper knighthood castle. After Sir Andrews’ death, the castle was left in the care of the KOGT who make sure the castle is well maintained.
Getting to Loveland Castle
Chateau LaRoche, also known as The Loveland Castle, is located in the city of Loveland, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. It is approximately a two-hour drive from Indianapolis using I-74. Once we took the exit, it led us to neighborhood with houses. There will be brown historic signs with arrows to guide you on where to go. At the last historic sign, you will come upon some arrows that lead you down to the castle. Beware, the hill is very steep and has sharp turns. If you have a child or family member who fears heights our seeing a downward incline that is steep, have them close their eyes until your car has made it down.
Also, the road that leads to the castle and out of the castle is a one-way road, use caution when entering and exiting this road. Once down, you will see the castle and the parking area. There aren’t ample parking spaces, about eight parking spaces and two handicap spaces as well.
Exploring Loveland Castle
Once parked, you will see a small tent, where payment is accepted. The entrance fee for the castle is $5 per person for anyone above the age of 5. Masks are currently required for anyone ages 10 and up. Although my sons are 4 and 7 years old, I continued to practice social distancing and had them wear masks. As you walk up to the castle, you can see the love and dedication from Sir Andrew in this stone castle.
Touring the castle inside, we were greeted by two young men who informed our family of the history and information about the castle. The castle dons lots of amazing knighthood artifacts and the simplest of décor showcases the authenticity of the castle. A beautiful large wooden throne greets guests once inside and guests are allowed to sit on it.
To the right side of the main entrance and a bit hidden, is the staircase, which is a medieval spiral like staircase. This staircase is a bit steep and can be scary for little ones; I highly recommend if you have a toddler to hold them or help them to go up and down this staircase.
Once upstairs, there were lots of great knight armor in all sizes, including a child size that my four-year old son loved. There was a large dining hall with great artifacts, and it led to an incredible room full of a collection of swords. The upstairs of the castle also had Sir Andrews bedroom, with an incredible dome ceiling made entirely of stone. On the outside of the castle there is a secret small entry way that leads to the dungeon, which is said to be “haunted”.
The tour of the castle inside is not stroller or wheelchair friendly. As a mom with a baby, I baby wore my little one to make it easier to see everything inside as well as outside.
Loveland Castle Gardens
The outside gardens had a beautiful walkway with arches, planters with greenery, flowers, and lanterns. There was an aqueduct garden area, full of flowers and vegetables. Throughout the garden, there is lots of great things to see; there’s gargoyles, a dragon peaking out of the ground and a knight watch tower. There is also a handmade garden tee-pee that makes a cute area for pictures. At the entrance of the garden and castle area, there is a Pillory that my boys loved posing at.
Our family planned to picnic in the area, unfortunately everything was wet from the rain. The garden does have picnic tables for a quick snack or lunch. There is also a great area to set up a picnic blanket along the Miami river and enjoy a nice picnic there. The facility does not have restrooms, they had two port-a-potties. Overall, our entire family loved visiting Loveland Castle and taking in the historic sites and learning all about Sir Andrews and his passion for Knighthood.
12025 Shore Drive