HELMER CASTLE ??

I received E-Mail that said:

I have been searching for a castle in Michigan. Don't know the name, but it was very close (within a mile) from Jackson Community College. In the city of Jackson (in Jackson County). Any info would be very helpful.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

The unknown castle in Jackson is on Hague Road near Jackson Community College. It sits way back in the woods and you can not get back there because they have many dogs. In the winter you can see the top of it from certain points. My dad once painted the inside of it, probably about 40 to 50 years ago. I don't think it is a really big castle. I've always heard stories of local kids trying to go back there to see it. Not me, I'm scared of dogs!

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I live in Jackson, Michigan and I know that there is a castle off of Draper Rd. near the Jackson Community College. In the fall through winter you can see the tower through the trees. I have heard that the castle is haunted and when you approach it you can see white mist. I also have heard that there are guard dogs and cameras. I know exactly where the driveway to the castle is, I have heard once you begin going up it, it splits in two, but I have never of course went up the driveway because it is private property. I have heard that there was once a movie filmed there, but I dont know anymore about the movie thing. I would to find out the deal with this castle, so if anybody knows please let me know, my email is princess_2052002@yahoo.com

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

When I was a really young kid in my preteens I remember reading the article in the Albion newspaper and Jackson newspaper about the man who brought that castle over here piece by piece and rebuilt it in Jackson. I remember the picture of the man and the article very clearly. It seems that it was brought over from Scottland but I could be wrong on that point. I dont remember his name or the castle name. But I do know that the rumours he brought it here from another country are true because I remember how awesome I thought it was that someone did that and how expensive it must have been.

Anyway, if there's any more info on this castle I would be more than interested in seeing it. Yes you can see the towers from the road. I've passed by it many times and I've heard the rumours of gaurd dogs and cameras too. I wonder if the Jackson or the Albion newspaper would still have photos or articles from that one I read when I was small.

I received E-Mail that said:

I am from Jackson Michigan and I have always heard stories about this really old castle that was brought here from somewhere overseas I think. However I didn't think that it actually existed because no one really has record of it that I can find. Today however, I saw the very top of it through the trees. It is off of Draper road I believe. If you know how I could find any information on this would you let me know.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I live in Napoleon, MI. I go to JCC in Vandercook. I too have seen the castle through the trees. I myself would like to find out if I can go onto that property, if I can, I'll be sure to get as much information on it as I can, but I have to see if it's private property or not.

On 6-12-05, I received E-Mail that said:

I live in jackson michigan where the castle off draper road has been seen. I have gone up and looked at it myself but it is a long drive and it is private property. the castle is located off of draper road on a lond dark drive that goes up to the castle. there are rumors that an old hermit lived up there and built it 50 years ago it is said that he used to sit up there with a shotgun and fire it off into the air when people would approach (my uncle went up there about 30 years ago and said that is what happened). its real old and is a skinny towering castle.

the castle is guarded by two huge dogs ( i have only seen 2) and i have heard of there being cameras ( i havent seen any though). i have been up there only twice and it a real spooky place. the drive is! the worst part about it because it is a long and dark drive. there is a lot of mystery in this castle

On 9-20-07, I received E-Mail that said:

Hey, you had written something about a old unknown caste in Jackson Michigan out in the woods somewhere, I found it. Here is a link from Live local satellite feed, it's kind of small but has a tower.

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=r0sfrn7z0hhp&style=o&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=9679730&encType=1

On 10-19-08, I received E-mail that said:

I toured this castle when I was about 14 years old, 1966. A buddy and I rode our bikes up a winding dirt rutted road. A committee of dogs came to greet us. I don't remember how it came about, but a women (60-ish) offered us a tour of the castle . If I remember correctly, it cost us 50 cents. Mostly one tower, 6 or 7 stories tall as I remember Brought over from Scotland or England by a relative of our tour guide. Quite an adventure for a teen.

On 10-29-08, I received e-mail that said:

Here is the info you are looking for listed on your site as Unknown Jackson, Michigan. This is all the info anyone has ever been able to get on this castle the owners will not cooperate.

Castle built to mimic German tower

Posted by Susanne Weible October 27, 2008 09:10AM

A man's home is his castle. Max Helmer's house literally was a castle. Helmer fell in love with medieval structures while touring Europe in the 1920s as a concert violinist. He built his castle atop one of Jackson's tallest elevations, a hill on S. Draper Road in Liberty Township. Helmer was a wealthy musician who inherited a large estate from his father, banker Fred Helmer. The reclusive bachelor built the six-story tower in 1929, copying a fifth-century Roman hall built near Nuremberg, Germany.

The structure was originally designed for seclusion, but it became a pillar of interest. Builder C.J. Jorgensen crafted the tower using fieldstone from the neighboring Almaran "Mattie" Hatt farm. More than 500 tons of rock and 300 barrels of cement were used to build the first five floors. Jorgensen used horses, nine helpers and a crane.

Max Helmer built a six-story castle in 1929 at 7300 S. Draper Road. The tower walls are 3-feet-wide at the base, and are tapered to the top. A ceiling leak developed on the fifth story. A sixth-floor, lookout room was added to alleviate the problem. The first five levels were designed as bedrooms and are reached by climbing a narrow, circular staircase. Each level has a fireplace. The top story is accessible only from an outside balcony staircase.

The first five tower floors of Helmer Castle were designed as bedrooms and decorated with antiques. Beneath the structure is a customary castle feature -- a dungeon -- entered through a trap door on the first floor. A 2-story wing was added in 1937. Worker Joe Forcier used a team of Belgian draft horses to haul more stone from Hatt's land. Helmer decorated with antiques and many European items, including authentic wrought-iron hinges from the Middle Ages.

Helmer died Dec. 5, 1948, at age 55. It was originally thought he was murdered at home, but it was later ruled a heart attack. After Helmer's death, the building became home to Edna Barnes until 1973. Barnes was known to fend off trespassers with a gun and a German shepherd named Klaus. In 1975, it was the film location of the horror movie "Demon Lover." It then passed through several other owners. Arthur Klenk purchased the property in 1982. The residence is strictly off limits to the public.

On 2-15-09, I received e-mail that said:

Suzanne Weibel did an excellent job in her review of the Helmer Castle, located on S. Draper Road near Jackson Community College in Liberty Township.

My friend used to own a 10-acre parcel on Hague Road. It was just southwest of the castle. His land is the highest point in Jackson County. In late fall and winter, you can actually see the water tower in distant Spring Arbor! Now a huge cell tower borders the property. My friend and I often climbed to the top of his property. It was a huge sand hill - but had been dug out so that it literally resembles a sand quarry today. We could easily see the tower just to the northeast. We did approach the tower on three separate occasions - but each time were met with loud barking from a german shepherd guard dog. The owners made it quite clear that they did not want any visitors.

My 88-year-old aunt visited Max Helmer's castle often when she was a child. She took violin and piano lessons from him. He owned a beautiful mansion on Francis Street. She would take lessons from him at his home on Francis Street as well as his weekend getaway. Back then, in the 1920s amd 1930s, the castle was really in the boondocks.

Who knew that Jackson Community College would relocate to its current campus six miles south of town! The current campus was formerly the Wickwire farm. It was donated by the wealthy Wickwire family. The family's home is now the president's residence - located on Wickwire Road.

My aunt called Max Helmer the Liberace of his day. He performed for most of the crowned heads of Europe. He was well rewarded with all kinds of extravagant jewels and treasures. My aunt said he would show them to his students. My aunt also said that Mr. Helmer was "allegedly" always accompanied by a young man who was his protege. (Back then, she said, no one would say anything - but the young man was probably a lover.) That would explain why he remained single and never married.

Ms. Weibel's historical account rings absolutely true - according to my aunt - who knew Mr. Helmer for many years.

On 5-330-11, I received e-mail that said:

Just a couple links on this...

http://themichmashcenter.blogspot.com/2010/01/evil-castle-of-draper-road.html

http://blog.mlive.com/citpat_history/2008/10/castle_built_to_mimic_german_t.html

Does anyone know more about this?

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