According to the WV Encyclopedia article written by Jean Mozier, Colonel Samuel Taylor Suit built the imposing stone structure in the fashionable spa of Berkeley Springs as a summer cottage for his young bride, Rosa Pelham. Construction began in 1885; he never lived to see it finished. Suit was politically well-connected and a successful businessman who marketed his popular brand of whiskey across the country in little brown jugs. Daughter of an Alabama congressman, Rosa was less than half his age when they married.

Perched on Warm Springs Ridge overlooking the famed springs, Suit’s cottage was the most extravagant example of the town’s Victorian building boom. Although it always looked like a castle, it was not until the tall, blue-eyed, attractive widow returned in 1891 that the cottage became known as the Castle. She was Queen Rosa, famous for sophisticated friends and gala parties.

Berkeley Castle has gone through several hands since Rosa was evicted in the 1920s. It served at various times as a tearoom, summer camp and focus of tours. Living quarters were added in 1938. Most of the overblown stories were created for the tours.

Built of local stone, the castle has 13 rooms plus a basement dungeon, which was popular during ghost tours. The Great Hall has a high ceiling, hardwood floor and stone fireplaces at each end. A pine-paneled dining room on the main floor also has a fireplace. A wide stairway curves up to second floor bedrooms and a paneled library. A narrow staircase leads to the turretted rooftop trimmed with battlements and offering a fabulous view of the town. Three crosses are sunk into the stone walls of the turret.

Berkeley Castle

I can't believe there's a real castle so close to home!

Berkeley Castle

Check out the castle!

Berkeley Castle

This scary looking guy is guarding the entrance to the castle.

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6 Responses to “Polly #3 can’t believe there’s a real castle in West Virginia!”

  1. Why was Rosa evicted from the castle?

  2. Stan,

    That was a good question and it wasn’t addressed in the article I originally read. On the official Berkeley Springs web site it hinted at financial difficulties for Rosa but didn’t go into more detail than that.

  3. I really wish they offered tours!

    Happy Travels,
    Polly #3

  4. that scary looking dude was a gargoyle lol

  5. The Learned Arthurian Scholar
    August 4th, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Well, it does look like it has the makings of a castle, but where are the knights, dragons, and ghosts? I don’t see a moat or a family crest flying from the ramparts. I like your story and the wee lass Polly, but you have to admit one thing about this West Virginia castle: Camelot it’s not!

  6. Polly #47~ You’re right! I’d read about them before, of course, but I must admit that sitting next to one was a little creepy!

    Happy Travels,
    Polly #3