Loveland Castle in Ohio is a historical, hand-made museum and castle on the bank of the Miami River, designed specifically to celebrate the values of medieval knighthood and to give them relevance in the modern world. “Hand-made?”, you say. “How can a huge big castle be hand-made?” We’re not lying. Loveland is truly made by hand by one man for whom it was his dream. The knighthood that you will encounter here is not only about saving damsels in distress from fearsome dragons, but it is also about the dignity and protocol that keeps a society strong. Having that said, it’s also a really fun place which will open your mind to a range of fascinating experiences.


© Loveland Castle and Museum

Astonishingly, the work of one man, this castle museum is a real labor of love and a life-sized replica of the kind of castles that were commonplace in medieval Europe. In fact it’s an amalgamation of all of them, with their different stylistic idiosyncrasies, right on the banks of a beautiful river in Ohio.

Harry D. Andrews was a Boy Scout troop leader, a World War One veteran and a passionate medievalist, and from 1929, he began creating this utter wonderland which brings all the areas that he was fascinated with, together. The castle, also known as Chateau LaRoche, took some 50 years in its construction and development, piece by piece, one fantastic ambitious development after another.

It features stones which were drawn from the Miami River as well as home-made bricks which Andrews created with cement and quart milk cartons. Each of those home-made stones contains something to strengthen it, such as a light bulb or a glass bottle. Andrews is even responsible for the windy road which leads to Loveland’s front door.

Andrews’s story is quirky. He was a medic during the First World War, and was a young man who favored hand to hand fighting over modern warfare’s remote killing machines. He opted to be a medic for that reason: not quite a conscientious objector, he found the “machine” of modern warfare reprehensible and opted instead to tend to the wounded.

During the war, he developed spinal meningitis, which led to him being declared dead, at some point. By the time he had recovered sufficiently to be declared “undead”, his fiancée whom he had left when the war began, had married another man and he was basically left alone to explore the medieval castles of Europe, which clearly made a very powerful impression on him. Andrews never married, and spent the rest of his life yearning for the values of medieval knighthood.

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2.More History

More History
© Loveland Castle and Museum

A dedicated Boy Scout throughout his life, Andrews acquired the huge piece of land on which Loveland stands through the Cincinatti Enquirer, a small local newspaper. In a bid to bring more people to make their lives in the city of Cincinatti, the newspaper made a rather curious promotional offer to the public. They said if a person paid for a one year subscription to them in full, they would receive a plot of land on the Little Miami River’s banks as a thank you gift. A couple of the Boy Scout parents understood Andrews’s dream to make this castle and they made it possible through buying annual subscriptions to the newspaper in question.

So the land was effectively free. Over the years, Andrews and his Boy Scout troops would camp in the vicinity, but often their equipment and possessions were compromised or stolen by animals or vagrants in the area. Andrews’s thinking prompted the building of two stone tents in the area, to act as protection from the elements for the boys, but also a place to keep their camping equipment. And the die was cast: these tents grew in their possibilities and with time they were rebuilt and developed into what is today the Loveland Castle and Museum, a tourist attraction all of its own.

The Knights of the Golden Trail is a troop name of the Boy Scouts with which Andrews, in particular, was associated. When he died in 1981 at the age of 90, Andrews bequeathed the whole estate of Loveland to them. And this society of former Boy Scouts took Andrews’s dream to new fruition, developing aspects of it to completion and renovating it as the years passed. Today, it exists within their curatorship and is a proud monument to the Boy Scout ethos.

Built mostly to scaled with European castles of the same ilk – with the exception of the Ballroom, which is one fifth of the size of the original ballrooms in European castles – Loveland contains a wide variety of hand-made novelties, from the pieces of board games, such as chess, to hand-tiled ceilings, a dry moat, murder holes, stoop doors, a dungeon and lots more. There’s even a dragon of stone somewhere in the castle’s interstices.

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© Loveland Castle and Museum

Loveland Castle boasts a wide array of fantastic picnicking facilities and you can stroll the paths of the estate and explore it on a self-guided tour. Or you can hire out the whole venue for your wedding, if it is not too large. The choice is yours and the options are wide.

Everything from parlor games to ghost stories are central to the Loveland experience, drawing as it does from not only a range of English, French and German architectural styles, but also traditions from those countries of knighthood. The castle also boasts an important collection of genuine medieval weapons, many of which are on permanent display.

But more than that, there are special ghostly events which come into play close to Halloween time and spiral staircases to dusty chambers. If you visit Loveland during the spring when the flowers in the garden are in bloom, the place is completely aglow and it’s a treasure from within and without. The tour guides are mostly men who were associated with the Knights of the Golden Trail all those years ago, former Knights or retired Knights, if you will, and they have their own tales to tell.

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4.Visit Loveland Castle

Visit Loveland Castle
© Loveland Castle and Museum

The Loveland Castle is a weekend-only experience, but its opening hours depend on the time of year, owing to vagaries of weather and early setting of the sun in winter. So between October and March of each year, it is open on Saturdays and Sundays between 11am and 5pm, weather permitting. Their rule of thumb is if it has snowed recently, chances are, Loveland is closed. Between April and September of each year, you can visit the castle and museum on any day of the week. Admission for adults is $5; children under 12 years of age pay $3 and children under five years of age are admitted for free. Walking through the castle will give you a great cardiovascular workout: there are lots of stairs, but not much access if you are disabled. Wear appropriate shoes and remember there is no wheelchair access or disabled parking, should you need it.

By day Loveland Castle and Museum functions as just that: a castle and museum which offer a world of fascinating history, both of a knightly theme and an historical one, to members of the public. After closing time, however, the building is the home of the Knights of the Golden Trail. Unless, of course, you elect to stay there yourself, which is a possibility. If you do, the facilities are rudimentary: you will sleep on the floor, the toilets are portables located on each side of the castle, and water is accessed in a well that was dug some fifty years ago. Further, there are no indoor cooking facilities, so if you visit for an overnight stay, you will have to toughen up, like the knights themselves of yesteryear.

If the idea of toughening up like a knight to sleep on the floor of the castle doesn’t grab you remotely in any way, do not despair: there are several hotels and inns, in the vicinity, under 3 miles away from the castle itself; such as the Comfort Inn Northeast, the Cincinatti Marriott Northeast, TownePlace Suites Cincinatti Northeast/Mason and the Best Western Mason Inn, to name but a few.

Once you have explored all the many big and little dusty nooks and crannies of Loveland, and walked up and down more shifty and narrow stone staircases than you would like to remember and are generally suffering from Loveland fatigue, you may like to digress from the space and visit Ohio’s Home of the Brave Park, which is located 4 minutes in the car in a northwesterly direction from Loveland, or the East Loveland Nature Preserve, less than a mile in an easterly direction, as the crow flies.

Either way, visiting Loveland offers a fabulous insight into the indomitable nature of the human spirit in the face of a creative challenge as it pays tribute to all the values and the remarkable work ethos of Boy Scouts in general, and knighthood and European architecture in particular.

Back to: Best Places to Visit in Ohio, Romantic Weekend Getaways in Ohio

12025 Shore Rd, Loveland, OH 45140, Phone: 513-683-4686

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Best Castles in Ohio: Loveland Castle and Museum