Joslyn Castle

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While alive, George, Sarah and Violet loved their castle.

They are still there, keeping an eye on things.


Joslyn Castle is described as being a “Scottish Baronial four story, 35-room mansion.” Wow! Standing outside on the sidewalk on Davenport St., it takes one’s breath away.

It is a spectacular castle built for a wildly successful newspaper man and his family! Its distinctive Scottish Baronial Revival architecture using Kansas silverdale limestone, inspires quite a large castle estate, with all the wonderful additions that proclaimed success around the turn of the century when this forever home was constructed.

Featured inside is the rich use of carved wood, stained glass, chiseled stone, mosaic tiles, and wrought iron, with dramatic staircases and all the space for activity and life that many people have dreamed of in 1903. The Castle includes a reception hall, music room, ballroom, a conservatory, a library and gold drawing room. The basement at one time housed a bowling alley. With the addition of a music room in 1906, the house totaled 19,360 square feet. The interior of the home’s conservatory was designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen in 1913.

The five acres of gardens, grass and trees are open to local residents and visitors as a public park, which is something that the Joslyn family would’ve approved of. The State of Nebraska is caretaker of the outside, keeping it in great shape for the public enjoyment.

To bring in funds to support the Joslyn Castle, all kinds of events and social activities take place here, making good use of the beautiful common spaces found inside! It truly makes a glorious event center for all kinds of social activities.

The mission now of Joslyn Castle is “to provide opportunities for our modern community to connect with our founders through historical, educational, and cultural programming for the community. Our 2018 programming calendar offers unique engagements with theater, art, history, nature, music, architecture, literary arts, and more.”


Joslyn Castle was designed by prominent architect John McDonald, who was an expert in Scottish Baronial Revival architecture. This marvelous forever home built for entrepreneur mover and shaker George Joslyn and his wife Sarah showcases their success in ways that they delighted in their life style. Their forever home was Joslyn Castle, an immense mansion on five acres of gardens, grass and trees. It was built in 11 months at a cost of a whopping $250,000. In 21st century dollars, it would’ve cost 7 million dollars.

George, who started life as a farmer’s son, worked his way up in the newspaper business, until he was made president of the Western Union Newspaper in Omaha. His uncanny gift in business helped him build the Western Union Newspaper into a huge money-maker, by finding ingenious ways to help grow newspapers in other western towns; which in turn helped those western communities to grow through the news about them and the world.

George and Sarah held the philosophy; “The possession of great wealth is a great trust and obligation.” though they treated themselves to a spectacular, forever home in the form of this fabulous castle with all the bells and whistles they had long dreamed of. They lived what they believed, causing much blessing for others in Omaha; people and animals. They left most of their money to their favorite organizations.

George and Sarah made a personal commitment to help an orphan by adopting a girl, Violet raising her in love; giving her a great start and putting her on the track of having a wonderful life. After college, Violet married in Joslyn Castle the love of her life, David. David and Violet had a family of three children; David Jr., and twin girls who she named after her wonderful adopted mother; Sarabelle, and Violet Joslyn.

George and Sara contributed to many Omaha institutions, such as Omaha University and The Humane Society. Sarah along with seven other women formed The Board of Charities for the City of Omaha. “Sarah was on the executive boards of the Child Saving Institute and the Humane Society.”

When George Joslyn died in 1916, only thirteen years after the building of their castle, Sarah continued living here and provided her time, energy and money toward their charities and other areas of concern for the public good. Sarah lived to the ripe old age of 88, dying in 1940.

Beginning in 1944, Joslyn Castle was the headquarters of the Omaha Public Schools’ administrative offices. During the years that they occupied Joslyn Castle, upgrades were made, such as the installation of a modern central heating and cooling system, an elevator, and separate restrooms for male and female staff.

During the 1980s’, Sarah Joslyn’s bedroom was the main work room of the staff of Omaha Public Schools. At the end of the 1900s’, the State of Nebraska became guardian of the property and got the title to the land. The Joslyn Castle Trust purchased Joslyn Castle from the state in 2010, though the grounds became part of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.

Spirits of the Joslyn nuclear family apparently also seem to continue to enjoy their earthly forever home, perhaps happy to have their home restored, and enjoy all the activities that take place here.



Though we don’t know for sure why the Joslyn family is still here, the following reasons listed below may be why.

Families who loved their forever home in this world, sometimes chose to visit or stay there in their after-life.

While alive, George, Sarah and Violet loved their castle. It seems that they still do! All three had wonderful memories here.

Spirits who had to give up places that they loved because of circumstances beyond their control sometimes like to spend time in these places in their after-life. Violet had to move with her husband David back to New York when David’s father died. She had to move away from the people who rescued her and adopted her into their family, giving her love and a great life. That must of been painful for her.

George died suddenly after living at the castle for only thirteen years.

Sometimes if family members decide to stay or visit their favorite place in this world, other family members come as well.

If George and Violet stay or visit, it goes to reason that Sarah would be drawn here as well, keeping them company!



Apparently, spirits of George, Sarah and Violet keep the living company.

Spectral voices are heard by staff coming from the upper floors.

A Female spirit who is dressed in a white dress likes to float down the main staircase.

Disembodied male voice from a spirit who doesn’t like paranormal investigators was recorded.

Staff, event participants, visitors and paranormal investigators have had personal experiences seeing and hearing paranormal activity.

Paranormal investigators, including Brain Kent his team members, Dave and Allen, recorded a voice, described as a hum, saying “Get Out.”

His team also saw “A mysterious black mass” forming behind a cameraman. (It was probably George trying to see what the cameraman was doing.)

Brian Kent has led many paranormal investigations here and is convinced that he has enough hard evidence that proves that the Joslyn family are indeed home again.

A psychic medium saw the spirit of Violet in her old room, not in a happy mood; perhaps reliving some sad memories. This psychic medium reported that the psyche energy in the castle was so strong that she had to leave.


Most Probably so! Perhaps for a variety of reasons George, Sarah and Violet still enjoy their memories of their life here at Joslyn Castle and perhaps keep an interested eye on the events and social occasions, and all educational activity as well. They must be pleased with the efforts to “provide historical, educational, and cultural programming for the community.”


3902 Davenport Street,
Omaha, NE 68131
(402) 595-2199 *

Located in Midtown Omaha, Joslyn Castle and its 5.5 acres can be entered on the corner of Davenport Street and North 39th Street. Take Dodge Street to North 39th Street, and head north up a block to the entrance to Joslyn Castle.




Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr




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