What was once a summer home next to a waterfall has now become littered with graffiti and children in swimsuits.
Collings Castle was the private residence and summer home of Mr. Ellsworth Collings, who was the Dean of Education at the University of Oklahoma. The castle is located inside what has now become Turner Falls Park and is adjacent to the 77-foot-tall waterfall for which the park gets its name.
The castle was constructed in the 1930s by Collings and his wife out of stones that were quarried on a nearby plot of land. The property consisted of a main house, two bunkhouses, and two outhouses. A stable area (later converted into a garage) was located at the top of a steep and narrow stairway connected to the main building. Mr. Collings was very interested in Western art and ranching, and these interests were said to have decorated almost every inch of the residence while he occupied it (there was even a couch made out of longhorns). In the main house, there was a large fireplace surrounded by rose rocks, which have since all been removed by tourists and vandals.
The design of the castle very closely followed the design of medieval castles in Europe with its narrow windows, short doors, and low ceilings. It has been noted that the short ceilings may have not only been due to precedence, but also out of necessity because of the Great Depression. The castle was located on the side of a steep hill, which would have cost significantly more in labor to transport the building materials had the walls been any higher.
The castle has passed through the hands of multiple owners and now belongs to Turner Falls Park. There have been multiple attempts to restore the castle, but funding has fallen short every time.
Know Before You Go
The castle is located inside Turner Falls Park. Admission to the park is $14 in the summer and $5 in the winter. Children under 5 are free.
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