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Berkeley Springs, West Virginia11. Berkeley Springs State Park/
Berkeley Castle

Berkeley Springs State Park. Although always public land, it did not achieve its current four acres until 1881. The lots along Washington St. were sold in 1812 to Robert Gustin who built a lodging place just inside today's entrance arch. In 1836, John Strother began his hotel empire by renting Gustin House. He called it the Pavilion. The section facing the Inn and Spa at Berkeley Springs also was not originally part of the park. The Blue House where Robert Bailey gambled in the 1810s was located there and later bought by John Strother in 1839. When razed in 1881, the land was sold to the Bath Trustees for the park.

Berkeley Springs, West VirginiaPlaced on the National Historic Register, the park includes the springs and the town's first spa and bathhouses. Their history is outlined in the Treasure Tour of Berkeley Springs State Park. The buildings include the 1815 Roman Bathhouse, with the Museum of the Berkeley Springs on the second floor, and the Gentlemen's Spring House in the northwest corner. The Main Bathhouse was built in 1929 along the south boundary. Buildings were first constructed in the park beginning in 1784 and included a series of covered bathhouses, the most recent of which were razed in 1949 for the outdoor swimming pool.

Perched on Warm Springs Ridge overlooking the park and springs is the most extravagant example of the town's Victorian building boom -- Berkeley Castle. It was constructed of local sandstone by Samuel Taylor Suit of Washington, DC in 1885 as a summer cottage for his young bride Rosa Pelham. Suit died and Rosa finished building the cottage which the local press dubbed the Castle in tribute both to its appearance and Rosa’s many extravagant parties. During the first half of the 20th century, the Castle passed through many hands. It was used for everything from dances and an antique fair to a summer camp. Up until 2000, it was open for house tours; currently it is a private residence available for photo and movie shoots. The building is dominated by the three-story tower; the roof is trimmed with battlements. There are 13 interior rooms and a basement "dungeon." WV9 now cuts through the Castle property; a stone gate tower built by Rosa in 1893 is stranded on the opposite side of the highway.

> Take a Treasure Tour of Berkeley Springs State Park

 

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