John Osgood’s home, built in the style of an English Tudor and used as a hunting retreat, was constructed of large stone blocks hand-cut and quarried from the towering sandstone cliffs just across the Crystal River. Sparing no expense, he used the finest craftsmen of the era to design the features of his 42-room, 24,000 square foot home.
The wood paneling throughout the home was all crafted by Gustav Stickley and includes English oak and Honduran mahogany. Louis Comfort Tiffany designed the fixture work including three giant brass globes carved with lion’s faces, pineapples and angels that light up the English Great Hall.
The Great Hall has eighteen-foot ceilings and features a sandstone block fireplace carved with the Osgood Coat of Arms and supporting a trophy elk mount. Even today, most of the furnishings are those that Osgood and his Swedish-born wife, Alma Regina Shelgrem, purchased as antiques in Europe while their Castle was being constructed.
The Dining Room is an elegant Russian statement from the court of the Czars, with Honduran mahogany paneling hand rubbed to a cherry red finish, topped by ruby red velvet wall cover and a gold leaf ceiling. Distinguished guests such as Teddy Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan and Prince Leopold dined here on wild game with the finest silver and china on the table.
Done in a Persian motif, the Library overlooks the front grounds and is a reminder of the deluxe railroad cars that the elite traveled in across the U.S. and Europe. The paneling and bookshelves are Honduran mahogany topped with green leather, gold leaf stamped wall cover. The gold leaf ceiling is hand-stenciled around the borders in a peacock design.
After dinner, the ladies would have retired to the femininely-decorated French Music Parlor. The room features green silk damasque wall covering, a frescoed plaster ceiling and diamond dust mirror above a Carraran Italian marbled fireplace.
The upper floors of the Castle include the original bedroom suites used by the Osgoods and their guests, complete with oversized porcelain claw foot tubs and standing sinks. Each of the bedroom fireplaces is made of unique colored tile or Italian marble. In the secluded north tower is a two-room suite featuring a domed ceiling decorated with birds and flowers.
At the ground level of the Castle is the gentlemen’s Game Room and Bar featuring the original billiards and card tables. One can imagine the high stakes being gambled upon and the smell of cigar smoke still wafting in the air.