Stokes Castle – Austin, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

Stokes Castle

This railroad magnate's 19th century tower is more than a little bit out of place in the Nevada desert. 

Related Stories
Nevada's Highway 50

Announcing the Fellowship of the Loneliest Road

Atlas Obscura wants to send you on the trip of a lifetime across Nevada.
The ruins of a general store in Rhyolite, one of Nevada's better known ghost towns.

Visit the Ghost Towns of Nevada

The abandoned treasures of the Silver State.
Top Places in Austin
A giant concrete Ichthyosaur beckons you to explore the park.
Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
Austin, Nevada

U.S. Route 50
Austin, Nevada

Toquima Cave
Austin, Nevada
See All

They say a man’s home is his castle. In the case of mine developer and railroad magnate Anson Phelps Stokes, the saying was quite literal.

Stokes was one of several wealthy east coast investors that saw opportunities to enhance their fortune in the American West. Riding the wave of the silver boom in the nearby town of Austin, he poured money into development and infrastructure in the region, such as this castle tower that became a lasting piece of his legacy. 

More than a little bit out of place in the Nevada desert, the three-story structure was commissioned by Stokes in 1896 and finished the following year. It was modeled after a tower in central Italy and constructed from Nevada granite — some of these stones weigh thousands of pounds. In its heyday, the tower was lavishly decorated; each floor had a fireplace, and the Stokes family could look out over the surrounding lands from its two balconies and the battlement terrace on the roof.

The Stokes reign, however, was short. The family traveled west in 1897 and spent about a month in the castle. It would be their only visit. A little less than a year later, embroiled in an embezzlement scandal and the silver mine’s decline, Stokes sold both the mine and his brand new castle.

Stokes Castle lay abandoned for many years, until it was purchased by a distant relative in 1956. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the idiosyncratic tower endures, not quite like anything else you’ll see along an American roadside. 

From Around the Web