Baron Walter von Richthofen erected this rhyolite castle as the show home of the Denver suburb, Montclair, which he was promoting. The Baron, like many others, hoped to capitalize on Denver’s 1880's boom. He platted Montclair four miles east of downtown way out on the prairie and named it for its clear view of the Rocky Mountain Front Range.
The Baron probably hired Alexander Cazin, a fellow German, to design this mock medieval fortress with its three-story crenelated turrets and tower entry. On the northwest corner is a red sandstone three-foot-high bust of Frederick Barbarossa (1122-1190), the medieval ruler and Holy Roman Emperor who strove to unify the many squabbling provinces into a consolidated Germany. The Richthofen coat of arms – two lions crowning a seated figure presumably a Richthofen -- is carved high on the tower over the main entrance.
The original castle, a prickly Prussian affair, was remodeled and enlarged in 1910 for a new owner, William W. Grant. He commissioned two of Denver’s leading architects, Jacques Benedict and Maurice Biscoe, to soften the castle with new half-timbered and stuccoed west and south wings (1924) and transformed the crenelated roofline with shingled gables and a cap for the central tower. Inside the thirty-eight-room castle is an entry hall with dark oak paneling and hand-tooled leather walls and a parquet-floored music room seating 150. The 1910 architects used the same rhyolite and a matching style for the gatehouse to the east. Once divided from the castle converted to a separate residence, it has been purchased and reattached to the estate by the current owners, Jesse Jesperson and Sylvia Atencio-Jesperson.
After purchasing the castle in 2012, the Jesperson’s began a diligent restoration beginning with a fortune in deferred maintenance. Starting with a leaky roof, they replaced or repaired the original terra cotta tiles, restored beechwood, golden oak and mahogany woodwork.
Jesperson and Atencio restored all 38 rooms including a billiard room, a basement German style bar (which was installed by the Priddy family who owned the castle prior to the Jespersons), six fireplaces 5 ½ baths and the secret panel in the living room. They have also exquisitely landscaped the entire grounds of the designated National Register and Denver landmark.