The Paranormal Science Lab in Carthage hosted two tours for the Graham’s Mystery Castle in Pittsburg Saturday, Sept. 1, at 7 and 10 p.m. Approximately 600 people from Pittsburg and the surrounding areas attended the castle tour and heard real life stories from owners Eric and Carry DeGruson. The castle is located at 601 Grandview Heights, Pittsburg.
“This place is amazing and it has a real place in southeast Kansas history, not only that there’s no houses like this to tour in the Midwest,” said Marcy Miller, castle tour guide. “This is a really unique place, it is singular and it deserves a showcase and people to see and learn about its history.”
- Staneart Grahammoved into the house in 1937 after designing it himself.Grahamwas a lawyer for the Pittsburg area and built the castle with no experience in architecture, engineering, or any formal training. Graham built the house entirely of brick, steel, and stones collected from around Pittsburg, railroads,Galena mine shafts, and strip mining areas. These were added to the concrete, creating textures and archesmade to look like a vintage castle. The house was a one-story Tudor style castle with 32 major windows. Though as Graham’s health began to declinethe house was never completely finished.
“This house was made out of different materials from all over the area, which makes it historical and unique to the history of Pittsburg,” said Carry DeGruson, Eric’s wife. “And so many people came to the first and second tour here tonight, so we had an overwhelming number of visitors that are interested in learning about the history of the castle and the rumors they heard all these years about the castle.”
Graham died in 1968 and the house went on the market. Eugene DeGruson, PSU professor and creator of Axe Library’s special collections, saw the house’s ad and was interested. In 1974, Eugene moved-in, finished interior and exterior projects, painted, and furnished the house.
Eric DeGruson, Eugene DeGruson’s nephew, is the current owner of the castle.
“Yes, my uncle owned the house and we used to have a lot of Christmas dinners and Easters here,” Eric said. “And my uncle Eugene was a lover of history, especially the local history. He loves to promote the uniqueness of southeast Kansas and some of the people that came out of it, and he was interested in literature, so he was very passionate about the local history in general.”
Various tour attendants knew of the castle before arriving, having either lived near it or heard stories previously, such as with Suzi Back, Joplin resident.
“I used to ride over here on my bicycle because I lived in this area of Pittsburg when I was in grade school and this place was like the mystery house and there’s stories that you better not get too close or there would pallets of rocks or like a shotgun that may attack you,” Back said. “Now, after this great tour, I’m still impressed. I mean, I’d heard it was all concrete, which that’s amazing and that all the bricks in the ceiling and for not being an architect or anything like that it’s pretty innovative.”
The tour not only showed community members a window into history but also brought enlightenment to mysterious rumors surrounding the castle.
“I heard that into cornerstones of the houses there were guns so that if an attack came he would be self-sustaining and be able to defend off people, but this tour proved that it wasn’t true and I learned so much about the history of the castle and I’d love to come and tour it again,” said Pat Glick, Joplin resident.