Like much of the town of Austin, historic Stokes Castle is nothing short of incredible. Positioned on the hillside on the western edge of town, Stokes Castle is a remnant of Austin’s lucrative silver mining heritage, towering over the picturesque Reese River Valley below. While, astoundingly, Stokes Castle was only actually lived in for a total of one month’s time, the structure still stands tall nearly 130 years later and is one of the most famous of many must-see historic sites along the Loneliest Road in America.
Building Stokes Castle
Originally built in 1897, this elaborate three-story granite tower is a nod to the unimaginable silver wealth surrounding Austin’s boom days. Railroad magnate Anson Phelps Stokes, a prominent mine developer and banker, purchased this land to construct a summer home for his family. As a distinctive businessman and world traveler, Stokes modeled his elaborate home after a tower he had once admired in the Roman Campagna in Italy. His new castle would be built entirely of hand-hewn, native granite.
In addition to adopting late Victorian design elements, Stokes also implemented lavish details of this era in the interior of the home. While the kitchen and dining room were on the first floor, the second floor included the living room, and the third floors housed two bedrooms. Each floor encompassed a fireplace, plate glass viewing windows, and the upper two levels included a balcony complete with a sun deck.
Similar to many residents in this area during mining booms, the Stokes family occupied their Castle for only a short time. After living in the home for a mere month, the family returned for brief periods throughout 1897, but once Stokes sold his Austin mine and milling equipment, they never returned to Austin. Although the Castle demonstrates excellent craftsmanship to this day, the abandoned home became dilapidated until Molly Magee Knudsen, a cousin of Stokes, purchased the castle in 1956. At this time, the home had an official owner, but has remained unoccupied since the Stokes family originally resided here.
Visiting Stokes Castle Today
Stokes Castle was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, and is currently owned and maintained by an Austin-area resident. Today, the structure stands as a monument to the local men who constructed the tower, and those who helped establish the mines in the surrounding area. Stokes Castle is nearly impossible to miss when entering Austin from the west side of town, thanks to its prominent location on the ridge above.
Although the Castle’s perimeter is fenced off and has fallen into disrepair over the years, the incredible 100-mile views of Reese River Valley are half the fun. Catch one Nevada’s famous sunsets, or have a picnic with a view at this unforgettable Nevada historic site during your Loneliest Road adventures.
Stokes Castle is open from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.
There is no admission required to access Stokes Castle. For more information on this historic site and planning your Austin-area visit, get in touch with the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce at (775) 964-2200.