Connects: Highway 133 (West Elk Loop Scenic Byway), Redstone Pillar (Winter)
Redstone, CO – Historic Building
Redstone Castle, also called Osgood Castle and Cleveholm Manor, is a 24,000 square foot, 42 room mansion with 24 bedrooms and 19 baths that was built in 1903 for the man who established the town of Redstone, John Osgood. Osgood was a coal baron who founded the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. At the time Redstone Castle was built, Osgood was the 6th wealthiest man in America. He died in the top floor bedroom of his castle in 1926. In 1971, Redstone Castle was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Outbuildings include a carriage house with horse stalls and large guest apartment, a gatehouse, and a gazebo.
News about Redstone Castle can be found at:
Post Independent (November 9, 2016) – Hotel Denver owners buy Redstone Castle for $2.2M
Post Independent (September 24, 2016) – Guest opinion: The mixed blessing of owning Redstone Castle
Post Independent (September 6, 2015) – Step back in time on a visit to Redstone
Aspen Times (June 5, 2015) – Redstone Castle back on the market for nearly $7.5 million
Post Independent (May 29, 2007) – Four guilty of felonies in fraud scheme used to buy Redstone Castle
Post Independent (January 12, 2006) – Castle preparing to reopen in spring
More information about Redstone Castle can be found at:
Redstone Castle Tour Reservations – www.redstonecastle.us
National Register of Historic Places – Osgood Castle
Wikipedia – Osgood Castle
Redstone may have been just a company town, but what a company town – the “Ruby of the Rockies,” one newspaper called it. Founded by John Osgood in 1901, Redstone embodied Osgood’s grand vision: a model industrial village, scientifically engineered to promote contentment and well-being among laboring folk and their families. Its several hundred worker-residents had access to a range of edifying assets, including a bandstand, theater, dairy, schoolhouse, communal garden, and chaste social club. They lived in tidy cottages and called their company store “The Palace” – symbolizing their stake in Osgood’s great fortune. But when his fortunes turned for the worse, so did Redstone’s. In 1909, CF&I closed the coke ovens and mine, and the town was largely abandoned. in the 1950s, Redstone began to revive when operations renewed at the Coal Basin mine. Thirty years later, the former boarding house for single men, the Redstone Inn, reopened as a hotel. It didn’t turn out the way Osgood planned it, but Redstone remains a sparkling mountain gem.
Cleveholm Manor overlooked Redstone with the bearing of an English Tudor manor house. The resemblance was intentional. Constructed between 1901 and 1903, the mansion symbolized the benign lordship of John Osgood and his second wife, Alma – whom the townsfolk, with proper deference, budded “Lady Bountiful.” The Osgoods lived like true aristocrats, keeping a stable of thoroughbreds and entertaining European princes and members of America’s industrial nobility. Ironically, two recipients of Cleveholm’s hospitality – John D. Rockefeller and George Jay Gould – drove Osgood out of Colorado Fuel & Iron in 1903 and ended his baronial aspirations. He left Cleveholm shortly thereafter and returned on occasion, eventually dying here in 1926. Over the years, Cleveholm, renamed “Redstone Castle,” has been a private residence and a hotel, and continues to draw tourists to the Ruby of the Rockies.”
He had an aristocratic-sounding name and an impressive lineage, but John Cleveland Osgood –
the “Lion of Redstone” – was very much a self-made man. The descendant of early New England colonists, Osgood (born 1851) was orphaned in his youth and worked his way through school as an office boy and bookkeeper. He saved enough money along the way to buy a small stake in an Iowa coal-mining firm; by age twenty-seven he was the company’s president. Seeking new coal reserves, Osgood came west to Colorado in 1882, during which time he made his first trip into this valley. Here he discovered a rich vein of bituminous coal – which, by one account, a lucky avalanche unearthed for him – and on the strength of that claim, he launched the Colorado Fuel Company with three partners in 1883.
The Colorado Fuel Company supplied coal to Colorado’s burgeoning railroads and mineral smelters, becoming one of the state’s dominant coal companies by the early 1890s. In 1892 it merged with the rival Colorado Coal and Iron Company to create an industrial juggernaut: Colorado Fuel & Iron. John Osgood, one-time office boy, became famous as the “Fuel King of the West,” the lord of a vast empire of coal mines, steel mills, ore refineries, and coke plants. He returned often to the Crystal River Valley, site of his great coal discovery, and in 1901 he founded the town of Redstone. His own sprawling residence, Cleveholm Manor, housed such guests as John D. Rockefeller, George Jay Gould, and Theodore Roosevelt.
After being forces out of Colorado Fuel & Iron in 1903 by Rockefeller and Gould’s hostile takeover, the Lion of Redstone roared back, turning his Victor-American Fuel Company into CF&I’s main rival in Colorado. John Osgood returned to Clevelholm Manor periodically and died there in January 1926.”
Leaving behind a secure/steady financial future, John C. Osgood traveled west, in 1882, to investigate the Colorado coal fields. Osgood found what he was looking for in the Coal Creek region, 12 miles from the present site of Redstone, and on these claims he built a financial empire. Initially, Osgood formed the Colorado Fuel Company, which he later merged with the Colorado Coal and Iron company to form the powerful Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (CF&I).
Osgood, however, brought more than financial prosperity to the Crystal River Valley. From his first tour of the Colorado coal fields in 1882, Osgood had retained an aversion to the appalling conditions prevalent in coal camps throughout the state. He determined that conditions would be different for CF&I workers at the Coal Creek operation. Almost immediately, the Redstone improvement Company was formed to replace the tent towns developing at the Coal Basin mines and around the coke ovens on the Crystal River. Osgood’s revolutionary approach to the “company town” included, among other company buildings, 84 architect-designed cottages for married workers, an English-style inn for bachelor workers, a school, a clubhouse and a firehouse. Osgood’s paternalism stressed education, hygiene and a belief in the strength of the family unit.
Only after the construction of Redstone was near completion did Osgood begin plans for his own 42-room home. Under the direction of the New York architectural firm of Boal & Harnois, the house was completed in 1903. Shortly thereafter, Osgood was manuveured financially into surrendering control of CF&I to John D. Rockefeller. Six years later, in 1909, the Coal Basin mines and the Crystal River coke ovens were closed. The financial realities of the Panic of 1907 had finally touched the almost-Utopian village of Redstone.”