Castle Rock


Castle Rock - 1900 (photo from

                                                                        Incorporated in 1881

Located midway between Denver and Colorado Springs- Castle Rock lies at an elevation of 6,202 feet. It is in the Plum Creek Valley
along Interstate 25 at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

Castle Rock, which was incorporated in 1881, is also situated between the high plains and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Shielded
from the worst winter storms of the mountains and mostly outside the reach of the extreme heat and scanty moisture of the plains, the
area surrounding Castle Rock offered an excellent location for Indians and the wild game they sought for food.

The Indians of this region, predominantly Arapahoe and Cheyenne, were nomadic. They occupied the land between the Arkansas and
the Platte Rivers. Here they found easy access to pine forests for lodge poles, plus herds of buffalo, antelope and deer, which provided
them with most of their needs for subsistence. One of the original homesteaders, Jeremiah Gould, owned 160 acres to the south of "The
Rock." At that time, the community consisted of just a few shacks for prospectors, quarry workers and other hired hands. In 1874, after
Castle Rock officially became designated the seat of Douglas County, Gould donated 120 acres to "be known as Castle Rock." It was
then that the six streets named Elbert, Jerry, Wilcox, Perry, Castle and Front were laid out. The Courthouse Square was designated and
77 lots, each 50 by 112 feet, were auctioned for a total of $3,400!

Relations between the Indian tribes of the region and the ever-growing number of white settlers vacillated between open hostility and wary
toleration. White settlers were drawn by rumors of gold and by land opened through the Homestead Act of 1864.

The discovery of rhyolite stone (used for building exteriors) in the butte countryside surrounding Plum Creek is what actually put Castle
Rock on the map. Silas W. Madge developed the quarry and resulting lava stone industry in 1872.

Within a year, the new train depot brought the Denver & Rio Grande Railway to the community. Soon, it was unloading supplies for
ranchers and shipping rhyolite from the three local quarries and cheese from the dairy farms in the surrounding area. The depot now
houses the Castle Rock Historical Museum on Elbert Street, where visitors can relive the 125 years since the town's inception.

Castle Rock has continued to prosper and grow. It currently encompasses 33 square miles, with a population of more than 30,000 in
town and 65,000 in the surrounding area. A number of historical landmarks still stand, giving roots to Castle Rock's long and varied
history. Castle Rock welcomes newcomers and visitors alike and hopes that you will enjoy our friendly community, its beautiful views and
some of our wonderful Western culture.


<<<<Scroll down to the very bottom article (bottom of page)  for new investigation of Victoria's House!>>>>



Cantril School

                                                                           312 Cantril St

                Anna Hilburger in front of the Cantril School with her daughter or granddaughter. c. 1907.
                                       Douglas County History Research Center #95048-001

Cantril School, on what was called "Schoolhouse Hill" in the 1880s, is an example of an indomitable spirit.

Built in 1896 to replace the wood-frame school that burned, the existing Cantril Building,
312 Cantril St., became home to the first high school in Douglas County. Students came from all over Douglas County to attend the high
school and boarded with Castle Rock

Cantril School has been home of academia throughout its existence, first as a school and now as offices of the Douglas County School
District. Its hallowed halls still echo with the sounds of children. But after school is out, and the children have all gone home,
Cantril School is alive with a different set of echoes.

"We were always hearing footsteps, even in the summer when the furnace was not running," said Dixie Manzanares, district secretary for
staff development. Manzanares named the ghost "Matilda," and while conducting tours for fourth-graders, she would tell them stories of
Matilda's exploits.The tour included a trip to the basement to show the pupils the coal furnace. It was during one of those trips a boy told
her he thought he knew where Matilda lived and headed for the coal room.

"Just then there was a clap of thunder and that boy turned back to the group as white as a sheet," Manzanares said. Manzanares led
tours for about eight years before staff development moved into the University Center at Chaparral in Parker.

"I miss that old building," Manzanares said. "I'd move back there in a minute."  Down the hill from Cantril School and at the heart of Castle
Rock stands a church that's
now a restaurant.

Douglas County News-Press

 4th grade students posing by the Cantril School. October 1915.
                                        Junior Teacher: Miss Grace Sayer, Senior Teacher: Miss Gertrude Kelly.
                                                       Douglas County History Research Center  #93004-002.

                                                  Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce

                                                   “Victoria's House”

                                                                              420 Jerry St.

Now the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce, Victoria's House, 420 Jerry St., still carries some of the character of the families who lived
there. Victoria Anderson Honnold was once one of Castle Rock's leading socialites and leader of various women's groups. Her father,
Andrew Anderson, purchased two lots at the corner of Fifth and Jerry streets in 1896. The Andersons raised their two daughters and one
son in the house.

Andrew Anderson died in 1901, and his wife inherited the house. Three years later she died and the house was passed on to Victoria,
who by then had married and was widowed with a child. She and her young son moved into the house by 1911. She married Thorwald
Christensen in 1919.

Victoria Christensen died Dec. 9, 1942, at her house on Jerry Street of a stroke and is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery between her first
and second husbands. A hub of activity during her lifetime, the house is filled with activity still, not all of which is from this dimension.

"We were sitting in the conference room one day having a meeting when the door to a metal cabinet in the corner of the room slowly
opened on its own," said Deb Tucker, events coordinator for the chamber.

Nighttime seems to be the creepiest in the old house, chamber employees said. "Once when I was working late I kept hearing something
that sounded like someone snoring," said Judy Parson, chamber employee. "I didn't stick around long after that."

The employees also said there is an upstairs bathroom that often sounds like there is a hive of angry bees in it. But snoring and buzzing
aside, some of the events have left some employees unsettled.

"On several occasions, while working late, the phone has rung but when I answered it there was, pardon the pun, dead silence," said
Catherine Thornton, another chamber employee.

The phone would continue to ring until she picked it up, Thornton said. Other chamber employees also report they've fallen prey to the
ringing phone. Whether it's Victoria or not, she gets blamed for things, Tucker said. "Whenever the computers go on the fritz we blame
Victoria," Tucker said. Perhaps Victoria is trying to get a message to those who work in her house.

Source: Douglas County News-Press

                                              old Douglas County News-Press Building

                                                                          Perry Street

                                                       ******Rumored to be haunted********

"Although there began to be problems with the old building, it was familiar. We knew where we were. We knew all the building's sounds, its
creaks and groans.

Some of us joked the old building was haunted by one of its first owners, George Kobalt."

Kobalt built the building in the 1950s and the newspaper was so much a part of his life, we believed his spirit remained there.

Employees sometimes reported hearing footsteps when working alone. Time will tell if George moved with us."

Douglas County News-Press

                              The Old Stone Church Restaurant

                                                                                  210 Third Street
                                                                                  (303) 688-9000    


                                                                  Historic photos from

The Old Stone Church, built in 1888, was home to the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church congregation for many years.

In the spring of 1860, the bishop of Leavenworth, Kan., came to Denver to establish the Catholic church.

In the ensuing years, local Catholics met in houses to regularly receive the sacraments from the Franciscan friars selected to serve
Douglas and Elbert counties' flocks.

The Very Rev. J.B. Machebeuf visited Castle Rock in 1887 to inspect the site for the new Catholic church.

The Castle Rock Journal reported in its Oct. 19, 1887, edition that the bishop "expressed himself much pleased" with the work that had
been done. While a church, the building was filled with the spirit of its congregation, and even after the church became a restaurant, it
sported spirits of all sorts.

After the Catholics moved into their new church on Colorado 86 in 1966, the old church was vacant until remodeling began in 1975 to
convert it into the restaurant, said Mike Wheeler, head waiter at the Old Stone Church Restaurant. During the conversion, some spaces
were boarded over and others rearranged. What is now the second floor was the choir loft.

The most often-sighted ghost at the Old Stone Church can be found in that area, he said. Sometimes the ghost has as much return-
appeal as the food.

A family brought their children to the Old Stone Church one day for their son's birthday because he wanted to hear the ghost stories,
Wheeler said.
"They kind of hinted that the boy had seen a ghost here once before," Wheeler said. "I asked the boy what he'd seen."

Then in a scene that could have come from the Bruce Willis' thriller "Sixth Sense," the boy described a little girl dressed in white with
"something wrong with the back of her head."  The description the boy gave perfectly matched sightings other patrons and wait staff had
reported, Wheeler said.

"I told the parents that, and they acted like I was just patronizing them," Wheeler said. "I told them, 'No, really, other people have seen the
girl.'"Wheeler has had his own ghost sighting.
"One night I was alone after the restaurant closed and all the lights were off," Wheeler said. "I thought I saw a woman on the main
staircase reflected in a mirror." The area is behind what was the main altar.

"I walked toward the area and had to walk though a thick wall of clammy air," Wheeler said. "I felt a presence all around me."

Waitresses have reported seeing sugar caddies fly through the air, chairs moving, and there have been "weird electrical disturbances" -
lights going on and off and the phone doing strange things, Wheeler said. In the kitchen things have fallen off shelves and pans or
utensils that hang from the ceiling on hooks have fallen, he said.

Just a few blocks north of the Catholic church and on the other side of Courthouse Square stands the home of one of Castle Rock's
pioneering families.

Source: Douglas County News-Press

                                                        Ghost Hunting in Castle Rock

                     Ghost Hunters hard at work at the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce's office

(November 5, 2008)  ------>> Castle Rock

Provided by: Melissa Moroni

Contributed by: Steve Thayer on 11/10/2008

Being on the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors definitely has its perks. Like getting to read the Castle Rock poem
at the Starlighting ceremony in front of thousands of people. Or having the honor to MC the Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony. Or
getting to represent the Chamber at community and civic events.

But I never imagined participating in a real life ghost hunt would make the list.

Well, as it turns out, I was wrong.

A little history: The Chamber offices are located at 420 Jerry Street, in Downtown Castle Rock, in a house known as "Victoria's House".
Built in 1889, this historic structure has quite a history. Including many supposed visits by Victoria Christensen, whose family built the
house in which Victoria, a "beautiful socialite and leader of women's groups", lived in until her death in the house in December of 1942.
Many people over the years have reported strange happenings in the house. Strange sounds, phone lights going on and off, a sense of
not being alone. The kinds of things that have caused some Chamber employees, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, to
refuse to even come to work if they are going to be alone. Those kinds of things.

Word gets around, and everyone loves a good ghost story. There are many resources, books, websites that are dedicated to stories of
haunted places in Colorado. The Chamber office, Victoria's House, seems to be on everyone's list.

And so the story of my ghost hunt experience begins.

Richard Estep and his colleagues at the paranormal research team "Boulder County Paranormal Research Society" read about Victoria's
House, and after a few emails, they requested and were granted permission to perform an "investigation". They "utilize scientific testing
techniques and the latest advanced monitoring equipment to investigate properties which have associated ghost stories." How could the
Chamber say no to that?! Real ghost hunters!!

I quickly volunteered to be the Chamber representative on site the night of the investigation. It sounded like a once in a lifetime
opportunity! How many people can say they have participated in a real life ghost hunt? As the night of the investigation neared, however,
doubts crept into my head. What if the ghost does come out that night? What will happen? Will I chicken out? And the most important
question - what will prevent the ghost from following me home? That would not go over well with my kids.

Oh well, the night is here, no turning back now.

On November 5 th, after a long night of following election results, I met up with Richard and his team: Steve Weidner, Kathleen Paulsen,
and Miranda Armstrong. OK, they all seemed very normal. Not what I was expecting. They quickly reassured me that the ghost would NOT
follow me home, that I didn't have to follow the directions of my teenage neighbor Andrew to wear red and go out a different door than the
one I entered. Hey Andrew, those are just superstitions. Silly teenagers.

The gang and I walked the building, talking about Victoria, the stories, checking out the layout of the hosue. Melissa Moroni, the
Chamber's Program Director, showed up to take a few pictures and ended up answering lots of questions before leaving. She has worked
in the building for several years and has never encountered Victoria.

Finally, around 10 pm, the ghost hunt begins!! The crew is now walking throughout the house, taking baseline readings, so that they
have something to compare should we experience any activity later on. Spread out in the conference room are video and audio
equipment, Geiger Counters (I remember learning about these tools in high school but have no idea what they do), infrared temperature
sensors, EMF readers. The house is wired with cameras and sound recorders in different rooms. I later learn that the ghosts will
sometimes say things that can only be heard on tape, to be discovered when the team goes back through hours of tape days later. That
makes the hair on my neck stand up a bit.

10:30 pm. The cameras and recorders are in place. The very loud soda machine is unplugged, and the house is now silent, except for
the annoying ticking of the clock on the wall. Richard decides it's about time to turn the lights off and get to business. But first, I start
asking questions and in the next hour I get all kinds of cool information on paranormal activity, ghost hunters, and the like. I get to hear
Miranda's recording, on her laptop, of a voice that is not either that of her or her partner, saying "They're gone" at a recent investigation.
Wow, that is freaky. And her story of the same ghost hunt, in an old Pueblo Fire Station, of someone breathing next to her when no one
else was in the room. These occurances are what brings these guys back, what keeps them going. 90% of the time, their investigations
prove fruitless. But the other 10% of the time keeps them believing. I am about to find out firsthand which side of the 90/10 rule we will
land on.

11:30 pm. OK, enough talking. Time for the lights to go out. It's EVP time -- Electronic Voice Phenomenon. What's that? We are all sitting
around the conference room, in the pitch dark. Recorders on. The group takes turn asking questions. Victoria, can you hear us? If you
can, make a loud noise. Are we upsetting you? In which room in the house did you die? Questions directed at the ghost, trying to get a
response. Exactly the opposite of what I would be doing in this situation! We are listening for answers, sounds, anything. I can hear my
throat gulping as I am trying not to move a muscle. Knock. Did everyone hear that? Same noise again. We investigate and deduce it is
the ductwork. A tree out front also scratches against the house. But nothing paranormal. I am both relieved and disappointed. Not sure

12:15 am. The clock has struck midnight and now we head down into the basement. I offer to go last, and Steve reminds me that the last
guy always get killed in the horror movies. I muscle into the middle of the group - no time to be a gentleman - and cut in front of Kathleen.
It is her first investigation with the group, so why should I feel bad. She and I have the same seniority.

The basement is just plain creepy. I don't know how else to describe it. Right out of the abovementioned horror movie. Yet here we are,
door shut, lights out. It is DARK. I am trying hard to see - eventually my eyes adjust a little. I am not sure if I should look around, afraid of
what I MIGHT see. Or do I close my eyes and just wait for the ghost to make herself known to us? I choose looking around. Why miss out
if something happens. We are asking the same questions to Victoria, and I am really hoping that she doesn't answer, not when we are
trapped in this scary basement. I am sure this is the room in which we will hear from her. I am wrong.

We move upstairs for one last try. Rumor has it that a lot of sounds have some from the top floor of the house. Maybe this will be it. We
get ready, lights out, questions asked. Nothing. We think we hear an unusual sound, eventually figure it to be linked to the heat duct.

It's now close to 2 am and the team decides that there was nothing unusual tonight, nothing to warrant more sleepless hours of
investigating. They will be spending the next couple of weeks analyzing the video and audio tapes, playing the audio both forward and
backward. That is where they sometimes get their biggest surprises. A simple explanation is given to me, to help gauge whether further
investigation is needed - The Sleep Test. "Can I curl up and go to sleep here?" If the answer is yes, then maybe the myth of a haunting is
just that, a myth. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case tonight.

Richard seems more genuinely disappointed for me than he is for his team. He feels bad that I spent several hours searching for a ghost
that just wouldn't show herself. He explained that by no means does one night of tests prove there is no paranormal activity, that ghosts
are temperamental too. Maybe we didn't ask the right questions. Maybe she wasn't in the mood to come out tonight. The most likely
explanation is that there was no event to upset the spirits - like a renovation of the home. But there are still tapes to review. The staff will
be asked to keep a log, and if strange things happen, the team can figure out a pattern, come back and try again.

I actually am now a little bummed. As much as I did not want to come face to face with a ghost, in the middle of the night in a scary pitch
black basement, there go my stories, my claim to fame. Wait. Time to reflect on the night. There were some weird noises that we really
couldn't completely explain. And the batteries on Steve's recorders kept getting drained only in certain rooms. And it was pretty creepy
there at 2 am. Maybe, just maybe, Victoria WAS there with us that night.

I can't wait to hear from the team after they analyze those recordings!

Info on Boulder County Paranormal Research Society can be found at And you can visit the Castle
Rock Chamber of Commerce website at

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