- Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2016

ROLLA, N.D. (AP) - The historic and picturesque Coghlan Castle will soon have an interpretive panel to help its admirers learn more about its history.

“We’re wanting to go to bid in February and have it completed by June, if the weather is good, of course,” said Becky Leonard, vice president of the Save Coghlan Castle, Inc.

The castle is located midway between Rolla and St. John along Highway 30.

The nonprofit organization received an $8,000 grant from the North Dakota Historical Society to complete the interpretive panel, the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1o71sB6 ) reported.

When it is completed, the site will include a kiosk set in a fieldstone foundation. The content of the 4-by-8-foot framed panel will tell the story of the castle, including the Coghlan family that built it and lived in it in the early years of the 20th century. Leonard said Save Coghlan Castle, Inc. will be selling ad space at the bottom of the interpretive panel.

The interpretive panel will add to its value as a tourist attraction for Rolette County. It is advertised as one of the spots to stop along the Scenic Byway in the area.

The interpretive site will be located along Highway 30 inside the gate. The castle itself is on private land owned by Tim DeMers and is not open to the public, but people can still see and admire the building from the road.

The panel will also include contact information for Save Coghlan Castle, Inc.

Restoration work on the building has been focused on the exterior, including tuckpointing and new shingles. It would cost too much to restore the interior of the castle and it is not safe to go inside it.

“It’s going to stand now for another hundred years,” said Leonard. “That part’s done.”

“It’s an interpretive site,” said Bobbi Hepper Olson, the architect for the group. “It’s not really a building you can go in and view. People can just enjoy the exterior architecture from the roadway. It looks nice from the road.”

Leonard said it would be nice if the group could raise enough money to add windows and doors to the building, but renovation projects are extremely competitive. The group would appreciate further funding.

The stone house was designed by Canadian architect Thomas Boyner and constructed by another Canadian architect using local limestone, sandstone and granite. It stood out in town at a time when other houses in the area were sod houses or tar paper shacks.

The Coghlan family only owned the house for a few years around World War I. The Coghlan family did rent the house into the 1940s. The building has stood vacant since the middle of the 20th century. It was a popular party site for local teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s and was vandalized in the 1960s. Years later, Leonard and other history lovers in the area took on the labor of love of preserving it for future generations.

“It’s a landmark well worth preserving,” said Leonard.

The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.


Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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