STOKES CASTLE, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- When you think of castles, you might think of the great fortresses of Europe, but there is a historical stone structure that stands right smack dab in the middle of the Silver State: Stokes Castle.
Stationed high atop the western slope of the Toiyabe Mountain Range, Stokes Castle stands watch over the Reese River Valley just outside of Austin. An architectural wonder for its time, the structure was intended to be the summer home of Anson Stokes; an east coast mine developer, railroad czar and banker.
Completed by the sweat and brawn of miners and local skilled workers in 1897, the three story tower was constructed out of native granite, with some of the massive pieces weighing thousands of pounds. Legend says the castle is designed after an ancient building that Stokes had seen while visiting Italy. The home boasted a kitchen and dining room on the first floor, a living room on the second and a pair of luxury bedrooms on the third. The second and third floors both had balconies, with a 60 mile view down the Reese River Valley to the south.
But the romance of the building dies out there. Historians say the Stokes family traveled west in 1897 and only spent a month in the extravagant building, and less than a year later, the Stokes sold their mine and the castle, never to return again. The regal building then fell into disrepair, and almost became the victim of a publicity stunt in the early 50's, when a Las Vegas promoter wanted to buy the castle and move it to the Sin City strip. That's when a relative of the Stokes', former New York socialite and Nevada rancher Molly Magee Knudsen stepped in and bought the property in 1956. When Molly passed away, it was left in the very capable hands of H.W. Trapnell, or as the folks in Austin know him: Wally.
In 2003, the castle was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, guaranteeing that this incredible piece of Silver State history will be around forever.
There's easy access to the castle, and it's free to swing by and check it out. For more information about this historic town, you can visit their website at www.austinnevada.com