'A Castle Carol'

'A Castle Carol'

Step back into the age of Dickens at the Castle Green's Holiday Tour Sunday

By Carl Kozlowski 12/05/2013

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Pasadena is a city awash with rich history and culture, but few places in the Crown City are as renowned as the Castle Green. Yet the fact that it is a private residence keeps it off-limits to the general public most of the year¸ opening only for special bi-annual tours or historical re-enactment events by the Thomas Paine Society.

This Sunday, there's a particularly inventive reason to explore the Castle's hallowed grounds, as it plays host to its annual Holiday Tour, otherwise known as "A Castle Carol." The environs will be transformed into a Victorian wonderland filled with people dressed in that era's finery and decorations that will make visitors believe they've stepped into a living Charles Dickens novel.

The self-guided tour will allow entry into over 25 privately owned condominium units, as well as the Grand Salons and grounds, and is a fundraiser for the preservation and restoration of the Castle Green. The air will be filled with turn of the 20th Century music and entertainment, as well as period décor and many holiday traditions inspired by his novels.

"At least once a week visitors to the Castle Green ask owners and residents, ‘Are there ghosts in the Castle?' because it seems to embody the spirited environment that would evoke a host of ghostly characters," says Jan Cady, the on-site property manager for the Castle Green. "Rather than ghosts, the Castle seems to evoke happy memories of Christmases long past."

Indeed, Cady is filled with tales of the Castle's rich history, including visits to its candle-lit ballrooms by former US Presidents Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt. In addition, the hallowed halls have hosted world-famous modern artist Marcel Duchamps when he was feted by Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper and the rest of the LA art scene amid his firs retrospective at the Pasadena Museum of Art.

"The Castle's marble stairs and caged iron elevator have been a part of history throughout its 118 years," says Cady. "Dickens would have loved the Castle. It is easy to picture him sitting down in the Ladies Writing Room and starting his first draft of the beloved story of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim." n

The Castle Green annual Holiday Tour, "A Castle Carol" will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Castle Green, 99 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Tickets are $20, and are available at the gate on Sunday or online at castlegreen.com.

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