Winter is Coming to…Austin, Nevada?
The Nevada portion of U.S. Route 50 was named the Loneliest Highway in America by America by Life Magazine in 1986. While driving across the bare land of central Nevada we noticed that people must have embraced the name and celebrated by moving away. Ranches do come into view occasionally, but the majority of the population consists of birds, reptiles, and four legged mammals.
On a steep hillside above Austin, Nevada is Stokes Castle. The castle was built in 1897 by Anson Stokes as a summer home for his affluential family. The Austin area was in a mining boom, and Stokes owned several mines in the area. When the construction was finished, his family stayed in the castle for only a month before moving away. Stokes’ adult children did return later for a short time, until they discovered that high desert winters were not all sunshine and cacti. Stokes sold the castle in 1898, but it remained empty.
In 1956 a cousin of Anson Stokes purchased the castle, but never took up residence. Although it is still privately owned, no one has lived there since the Stokes family in 1897.
The castle has three stories, built by locally mined granite that was lifted onto the hillside with a large hand winch, which still stands near the castle.
The first story held the kitchen and dining area, the second and third floors consisted of two bedrooms. Each floor had a fireplace, plate glass view windows, and the upper two stories each had their own balcony. Stokes lavishly decorated the interior of the castle, and the entire building was influenced by Roman Villas in Italy.
Stokes castle is an impressive sight even now. The castle is the first thing you see as you enter Austin from Highway 305. It looms high on the hillside above the town like a medieval beacon leading you to the Vale of Arryn in Westeros.
Links to more information
Hickison Petroglyph Campground – 32 miles east of Austin, NV – This is where we stayed. You can stay up to 14 days for free. About 15 – 20 campsites, and trails to Native American Petroglyphs.
Bob Scott Campground – 15 miles east of Austin, NV