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The Wild Tale of Chateau Laroche: How a War Veteran Built a Castle in Ohio

Imagine returning from a trip so life changing that you decide to build a castle… by hand. Sounds like the plot of a movie or something, right?

Well, for Harry D. Andrews, a World War I veteran from Loveland, Ohio, this story became a reality with the creation of Chateau Laroche, also affectionately known as Loveland Castle.

This isn’t just any old home renovation project. We’re talking about a full-blown castle, complete with towers, a moat, and gardens, constructed stone by stone by one man’s dedication and a dream plucked straight from medieval Europe. Harry’s story is one that combines history, eccentricity, and a dash of magic.

A Dream Born in the Trenches

loveland castle walls
Harry D. Andrews’ journey began in the muddy and harrowing trenches of World War I, where he served as a medic. During his time in Europe, Harry became enamored with the majestic castles dotting the French countryside, symbols of a bygone era that captured his imagination. When he returned to Ohio, he wasn’t content to leave the castles behind. Instead, he decided to bring a piece of that medieval charm back to America.

In 1929, armed with nothing but sheer determination and a vision, Harry began the construction of Chateau Laroche on the banks of the Little Miami River. Using stones from the river, cement, and sheer elbow grease, he dedicated nearly 50 years of his life to building his own personal fortress. But Chateau Laroche was more than just a hobby; it was an embodiment of Harry’s love for history and his commitment to the ideals of chivalry and honor he held so dear.

More Than Just a Home

loveland castle turret
Harry wasn’t just constructing a home for himself; he was building a headquarters for his Boy Scout troop, the Knights of the Golden Trail. This wasn’t your typical Scout setting. The castle served as a meeting place and a physical symbol of the medieval values and codes of conduct that Harry aimed to instill in his scouts. Think of it as a medieval reenactment that never ends.

When Harry passed away, he bequeathed the castle and its grounds to the Knights of the Golden Trail, ensuring that his legacy would continue to inspire the values of chivalry and honor.

Visit Loveland Castle

loveland castle gardens
Today, Chateau Laroche is a vibrant part of the Loveland community and a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the many rooms of the castle, each filled with artifacts from the medieval period and Harry’s own life. The gardens are a quiet retreat, and the view of the Little Miami River is nothing short of picturesque. The castle is open daily, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you’re planning a visit, don’t miss out on the themed events held at the castle throughout the year, including haunted tours, medieval reenactments, and educational programs. It’s not every day you get to walk through a real-life passion project turned medieval fortress in the Midwest.

A Monument to Dreams and Dedication

Chateau Laroche stands as a testament to following your dreams, no matter how ambitious. Harry D. Andrews might have been just one man with a wild idea, but his castle in Loveland, Ohio, ensures that his adventurous spirit and love for history will continue to inspire generations. In a world often focused on the new and the modern, Chateau Laroche reminds us of the enduring allure of the past and the power of one person’s unwavering dedication to bring dreams to life.

For more info, or to plan your visit, head over to

All images by Marie on Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)