Chateau Laroche (Loveland Castle)Harry Delos Andrews (1890-1981)
12025 Shore Road, Loveland, OH, 45140, United States
The castle is open to visitors daily throughout the summer and on weekends the rest of the year, for a small admission fee. Camping, events, and overnights are also available for groups.
About the Artist/Site
On the banks of Ohio’s Little Miami river sits Chateau Laroche, also known as the Loveland Castle, a full-scale European-style castle built predominantly by Harry D. Andrews over a fifty-year period. Andrews served as a military nurse during WWI and actually was momentarily pronounced dead due to a meningitis outbreak; by the time the mistake in paperwork was discovered—six months later—his fiancée had married someone else. Andrews never did marry, and he stayed in Europe after his deployment for some time, visiting many castles and fortresses.
After the war, Andrews returned to Ohio and became a reporter, teacher, and the leader of the local Boy Scout troop. In the late 1920s, after his troop acquired some land in suburban Cincinnati—a donation from two of the members’ parents, who had received the plots through a newspaper promotion—they began camping on this property. However, when they would leave their gear overnight, it would often be damaged or missing upon their return. Andrews, therefore, decided to build two stone tents for the troop to use, but, once completed, he decided to upgrade the structures and build a bona-fide castle. Inspired by the mighty fortresses he had seen in Europe, he dubbed it Chateau Laroche, “Rock Castle.”
This site was always meant to be more than a neat place for the troop to fish and run around; it was Andrews’s visionary concept of how life should be: for Andrews, the castle represented the high ideals of medieval chivalry. The troop members, who called themselves the Knights of the Golden Trail (KOGT), were to align themselves with these noble values, as well as with those of the Ten Commandments. Andrews sums up these feelings in a booklet he wrote where he says , “Nothing that God ever made on the earth is more awe inspiring and heartwarming than the sight of a noble youth just budding into manhood, clean minded, honest, honorable, gentle, living in God’s image and humbly conscious of his approval.”
Andrews worked on the castle almost singlehandedly for over fifty years. Work started slowly for the first few decades, but after retiring in 1955, he ramped up his efforts. Stones were brought in from the nearby river and bricks were made out of concrete and other scrap detritus, molded inside of milk cartons. Like its European cousins, the castle has watchtowers, terraced gardens, a banquet hall, a dry-moat, and a dungeon. It features a mixture of styles of architecture common to castles in Germany, France, and England, with domed ceilings, stoop doors, and four different types of towers.
Andrews passed away in 1981 and willed the castle to the KOGT, who own and operate it to this day. The castle is open to visitors daily throughout the summer and on weekends the rest of the year, for a small admission fee. Camping, events, and overnights are also available for groups.
Map & Site Information
12025 Shore Road
Loveland, OH, 45140 us
Latitude/Longitude: 39.2835338 / -84.2659815