The General made his money from starting the Rio Grande Railroad from Denver to Santa Fe. There was a railroad war between the Rio Grande and the Santa Fe RR but General Palmer continued operating his RR in CO moving the gold from the mountains around Colorado Springs.
He married and the couple had 3 daughters and built the family home in a little valley on the west side of Colorado Springs and at the north end of the Garden of the Gods.
He always wanted a castle and went to Europe for many of the furnishings, 20 of the 21 fireplaces and even bought a whole 800-year-old church, just for the red roof tiles. Only a few remain on the castle to this day, which makes them over 900 years old. – Amazing.
His wife had heart problems and the doctors advised that she move to sea level. Eventually she and the girls moved to England where she died at age 44. She never returned to the Castle to live.
One of the daughters did tho’. She had TB and the altitude and clear, clean air of Colorado was what was needed for her to heal. Actually that is still true today. Through the years there have been many tuberculosis hospitals and sanitariums in and around the city.
The General also built the Antlers hotel in, what is now, downtown. In the late 1890’s the hotel burned down which led the General into installing several inventive fire protection units in the castle. 1 being metal doors that pulled down to separate 2 of the wings. Another was water pipes and fire hoses hidden behind paneling and in separate closets.
He didn’t want anyone downstairs to hear folks walking around upstairs, so the wooden floors are covered with felt and then a second layer of wood.
When he was in his late 60’ he was thrown from a horse and was paralyzed from the 3rd rib down. He wanted to have a reunion of all the men that were under him during the war. Since he was not able to travel it was held at the Antlers. 250 were able to attend in the 1900’s. He died a few years later at the age of 70.
During the holiday season the Castle hosts Madrigal dinners and performances in the Great Room. It looks very elegant and would be a great way to start celebrating the Christmas season.