Givens' Irish Castle
In 1886, real estate promoter and novelist Robert G. Givens built a three-story mansion at 103rd Street and Longwood Drive, the two most exclusive streets on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side at the time. Designed after an ivy-covered castle in Ireland, Givens’ mansion cost $80,000 to build because of the limestone hauled in by oxcart from Joliet. Local legend suggests that Givens built the mansion for his wife, who was living in their native Ireland at the time, and that he chose the Ridge location because it most resembled the Irish countryside. Other splendid mansions began to spring up along Longwood Drive and the community became known as Beverly Hills, 18 years before the name sprung up on maps for an exclusive incorporated subdivision in Los Angeles County. Givens’ wife reportedly died before seeing her castle, but her ghost is said to walk up the hill from 103rd Street to the castle entrance on Longwood Drive. Beverly Unitarian Church bought the Irish castle in 1942 and now rents it out for parties, weddings, receptions, banquets, and seminars when the church isn’t using the space for services, organizations, and classes.