New panel directs tourists to North Dakota's Coghlan Castle

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ROLLA, N.D. (AP) — Drivers along a northern North Dakota highway can now pull over to take in the sight of fairy tale-like Coghlan Castle and learn about its history.

A newly installed panel off Highway 30 tells the story of Rolla's Coghlan Castle, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

Nonprofit Save Coghlan Castle received an $8,000 grant from the North Dakota Historical Society to complete the panel, which was installed late last year, the Minot Daily News reported.

"It is at the pull-off from Highway 30," said Becky Leonard, Save Coghlan Castle's vice president. "You can view the castle from there and read about the history of the Coghlan family and the building."

The panel shares the history of the castle, which was a family home built by an Irish immigrant in 1909. The two-story dwelling made for a particularly grand house at the time, including stained glass parlor windows, hot running water and a turret like a castle.

"It also had a corner stone fireplace with a decorative mantelpiece and tile work, a decorative open staircase to the second floor in the entrance hall, diamond motif oak flooring, and a built in china cabinet," the interpretive panel reads.

Maurice Coghlan and his wife, Ellen, had moved to the St. John area in 1883. They had seven children and farmed the area. An extended family member purchased the property in 1950.

The castle fell into disrepair over time, until restoration efforts worked to invest in the site's value as a tourist attraction.

Coghlan Castle is advertised as a place to stop along the area's Scenic Byway.