Introduction: The St.Francis of Assisi Castle Rock is a Special Place for Many Reasons
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The History of the Castle Rock and Its Contribution to the Region
The St.Francis of Assisi Castle Rock was discovered by an English man named Dr.Guthrie Wood in the late nineteenth century. Wood, trained as a surgeon, was commissioned by the Bishop of Antigua to find the “Cure of Ars”. The Cure of Ars was a water source located outside of Avignon that had healing powers.
While searching for the water source, Wood realized that he was in a very lucrative spot for a hotel. He quickly built his historic castle rock and had it registered as a hotel.
The palace was built in an oval shape to mimic the Roman Coliseum. The hotel tower set at its center represents the coliseum’s stakes and the four wings represent its arches. The penthouse suite was a luxurious suite meant for visiting royalty and the guests who visited the throne of St.Francis.
The hotel constructed in 1892 was designed by Scottish architect Archibald Leitch. The hotel tower, set at its center, has all of the central hallways and suites around it. The four wings represent the Roman Circus arches.
The Unique Characteristics of the Landscape
The rock is cut into three parts which can be compared to the three-fold nature of Father Francis. The rock is jagged, irregular and many stones have fallen out. Each part lies next to its neighbors, all in a single straight line. The rock faces northwards towards the Rouez mountains or “Roosevelt mountains” as they are known in St.Francis of Assisi Parish. The Rouez mountains are the highest mountains in Myanamar its highest peak being known as Mount Victoria. The rock is located on private property [I do not know the name of this property to obtain permission to visit]. We are not sure if the rock is used for anything since it is only a few steps away from a path in the jungle. According to local villagers it was once an artificial stage for performances of khenhsa (traditional dance) but this has been discontinued and only serves as a shelter for wildlife like leopards and monkeys. It has a natural cave which is located on the right side of the rock. We are told that when there’s heavy rain, water flows down the rock and into this cave.
How to Get There: Bicycling, Walking, Car or Bus From Denver International Airport?
It is possible to get there by land, air, sea or even by boat. The answer depends on ones location. The easiest method of transportation is by car. It is approximately a four-hour drive from DIA to Castle Rock. The Castle Rock is accessed by taking the C-470 expressway from DIA. It will take you along the Rocky Mountains and it is one of the most scenic drives in Colorado. After about 30 minutes, exit at Wadsworth Boulevard, then take a left onto Santa Fe Drive. Continue to the second light and turn left onto Plum Creek Parkway. After about 6 miles you will arrive at the Castle Rock Town Center. When exiting I-70 from Colorado Springs, it is approximately a two hour drive from the Springs to Castle Rock. When exiting I-25 from Denver, it is approximately a three hour drive from Denver to Castle Rock.
What to See & Do When in Castle Rock
The St.Francis of Assisi Castle Rock has many interesting things to see and do. The main attraction is the large cave that rests next to the rock. The cave is approximately 30 feet high (10m) and 11 feet (3m) wide. The cave is best seen after a light rain during the early morning hours. It is possible to enter the cave by climbing its steep ladder and entryway.
The Castle Rock also has an interesting history. The French explorer, Joseph-Antoine Frédéric de LaRouche, Sieur de Beauharnois, first saw the Castle Rock in 1792. Beauharnois had come across the Rock after exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. He sailed with his crew in a small vessel towards Pigeon River and camped at what is now known as Deacon’s Landing (a small cabin built by George Laughlin). The next day, Beauharnois and his crew sailed up the Pigeon River to Castle Rock. He named this new spot “Castle Rock” after a castle he saw in France.
The first recorded visit of white people to the Castle Rock was in 1805 by a French-Canadian trader named Antoine Mariche. Mariche went with a party of fur traders from Sault Ste.Marie, Michigan, to what is now known as Lake Superior Provincial Park. He then traveled up the Pigeon River to the Rock.
The first white family to visit Castle Rock was in 1855 by Thomas Hill and his wife. Ellis Hill (1856–1912), son of Thomas, named Castle City in 1898, and later in 1907 the city was renamed Castle Rock after its most famous landmark.