I was lucky enough to get to visit Christmas in the Castle with a friend this year. Where is “the Castle”? It’s the Bass Mansion, also known as Brookside, on the campus of the University of St. Francis in my hometown. Come on in!
The weather was perfect, which added to the enjoyment. You don’t get many 50-degree, sunny days in December in northern Indiana.
From the first room we entered, I could see we were in for a treat. The house was built in the late 1800s by John Bass, who made his money in iron. About 15 years later, it burned down, but was rebuilt. The entire mansion was restored in 2010, and it is gorgeous!
Back in the’90s and early ’00s, I taught classes on the SF campus each summer for about a month. It is a great memory — I worked with motivated kids to learn more about the Civil War, pioneer times, German, and more. I remember visiting this house during that time, but wow! They have really upgraded it.
Look at the “safe door” off the dining room — probably for storing the silverware? And all the details were amazing. Painting everywhere. My friend noticed that each room had a different style of carved woodwork too.
Each room was decorated by a different designer. I loved this one, first because of all the light, and then because of the music theme.
They even had “my” instrument, an oboe!
Attention to Detail
While each room was beautiful as a whole (honestly the place reminded me a lot of the Newport RI mansions), there was a whole other level of artistry in all the details. Here, see the painting along the ceiling, as well as the wood carving.
My friend is really good with embroidery and fabrics, and she was fascinated by all the detail in the blinds. These were on almost all the windows we saw.
Here’s a taste of the ballroom, way up on the third floor. So many Christmas trees, so many lights — just beautiful.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a visit to the castle! You can read more about its history and restoration here.