Caenen Castle LbNA # 62344
|Placed Date||Jun 18 2012|
|Location||Caenen Park Johnson Dr. and Caenen, Shawnee, KS|
So, I am a sucker for history. Anything with a good historical background intrigues me. Go to Caenen Park at the corner of Johnson Drive and Caenen. This is west of Quivira. This park used to be Remi Caenen's garden. He built and lived in the house directly to the north. He never actually lived in the "Big House", leaving that to his children. The castle is located directly across Johnson drive to the south. This place sat empty for the first 10 years I lived in Shawnee. I am so excited Renee Kelly has restored it and opens it to the public as an event center and Sunday brunch.
The formidable battlements of Caenen Castle have loomed over Johnson Drive for over a century. Built in 1907 by dairy farmer Remi Caenen, the house is thought to be modeled after a French or Belgian castle. Caenen quarried the stones for the house by hand, working alone in a pit on one of his farm tracts, and hauling the stone to the site where a stonemason and his two assistants did the construction work. Caenen did the quarrying in his "spare" time, and the home took two years to complete. The castle had a full basement, twelve rooms, and two and a half stories. According to the book The Caenen Family of America by Florence Boehm Vandever, Caenen also installed a "lighting plant" which produced gas for the home's lights using water and calcium carbide. Caenen also installed an interior water system for the home. Caenen came to the United States with his family from Belgium. At the age of 52, Remi bought a farm in Monrovia (later annexed as part of Shawnee) and started an 80-cow dairy. After his wife died, he started work on the house. Called 'the big house" by his family, it was completed in 1907, at a cost of $10,000. Caenen also built other stone houses in the area, including two that are located across the street from the castle. Members of the Caenen family lived in the house until 1925, when they rented it to Dr. Elstone, who operated the house as a nursing home for the mentally disturbed. The house changed hands several times, operating as a restaurant, a nightclub, and a Halloween haunted house. When the Caenen home operated as "The Cock Robin's Castle Nightclub" the nickname "Caenen Castle" was born. The "Caenen Castle" has had several changes over the years. The building suffered a fire, which burned much of the pine interior of the home. It has now been restored and is now used as an event center.
Go to Caenen Park at the corner of Johnson Drive and Caenen. This is west of Quivira.
Park between the Stone house (not the brick house) and the stop sign at Johnson.
The Big House is located in a bush next to the walnut tree that has a near horizontal branch.