Was ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Partly Inspired by This Michigan Castle?
Is it possible that “The Wizard Of Oz” was partly inspired by this Michigan castle? Some people believe so.
L. Frank Baum published “The Wizard Of Oz” in 1900…..this castle near Holland was constructed from 1893-1894, so it is possible he got inspiration from it. Baum would take summer vacations at his cottage in Macatawa, which was a short two miles north of the castle’s location. It’s also rumored that he based some of the book characters on residents from the castle’s neighborhood.
Did Baum really base the witch’s and wizard’s castles in “The Wizard Of Oz” on the castle near Holland? It’s extremely possible. He came to Michigan to relax and do some writing, so it’s not a far-fetched idea.
Now, for a little history…and haunting…on the castle itself:
The site near Holland that is known as Castle Park got its name from the castle that was built on the property in 1893-1894 by Michael Schwartz, a businessman from Chicago. Schwartz was a German immigrant who left Germany to escape the Franco-Prussian war; he came to America and settled in Chicago, becoming successful in real estate. The castle was built with the intent of becoming his family home: he & his wife along with their six daughters and his mother-in-law.
And yes…there IS a haunting within the castle walls…
It's been said that Schwartz built the castle in order to seclude his family from the evils, ungodliness and lawbreaking for which America was becoming notorious. Even so, one of Schwartz's daughters happened to become romantically involved with a local boy; the two soon decided they were going to elope. However, Schwartz discovered their intent and squelched it by locking his daughter in the castle's tower.
To this day, the legend states that her apparition can be seen in the tower window - especially on a night when the moon is particularly bright - looking for her lost lover...and some visitors who stroll by the castle on these moonlit nights claim to have seen her. But how did she die? Broken heart? Old age? So far, the cause of her death is unknown.
Following this incident, the Schwartz's relocated within the Holland city limits, only about a year after they had moved into the castle. Pay a visit! It's not that far away. Located at the junction of Bryant & N. Cherry Streets, a tad southwest of Holland near the Lake Michigan shoreline.