The Grandview Castle: More Photos and Bits of History

The Castle. It’s probably the best known landmark on Grandview Drive (which is itself a landmark), well regarded for its majestic architecture, history and Halloween traditions:

Sitting high along the river bluffs of Grandview Drive, the historic home boasts an eagle-eye view of the river and decades of fond memories from area residents. Some recall its wonder years of hosting trick-or-treaters, when previous owners would play eerie music, hire costume-clad “scarers” and offer lavish treats and engraved pencils stating: “Happy Halloween from the Castle.” The story goes it was commissioned by the father of a bride, eager to please his daughter on her return from a honeymoon spent sketching castles in Europe.

Now owned by Dr. Carl Soderstrom, today this magnificent structure is best known as a unique setting for philanthropic events. Learn more about the Soderstrom Castle and its caretaker in the latest issue of Art & Society!

Local artist and photographer Natalie Jackson O’Neal has graciously shared a number of additional photos taken at the Castle, many of which could not fit in the print edition. Check them out in our online gallery, “Behind the Scenes at the Soderstrom Castle.”

Haley Armitage, Miss Morton 2014;  Peyton Hillan, Miss Illinois High School 2013; Stephanie Pillar, Mrs. Illinois 2013; Marisa Buchheit, Miss Illinois 2104; Megan Ervin, Miss Illinois 2012; Audra Ferguson, Miss Heart of Illinois Teen 2014; Rebecca Palmer, Miss Peoria-Metro 2014
Carnegie Hall performer, Harmony Zhu, with Dr. Soderstrom and Maestro George Stelluto, plays on the castle Steinway before VIP patrons of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.
Preparing to host 4,000 children on Halloween
Shalom Sherman, Hollywood comedian and entertainer, performing for a special group.
In the Spring of 2017, over 75 Mayo Clinic alumni, guests and friends of Mayo heard a lecture by Dr. Atta Behfar on cardiovascular regeneration and enjoyed camaraderie.  Dr. Soderstrom has supported Mayo, where he trained philanthropically, for decades. Left to right: Jim Isaak, Dr. Atta Behfar and Dr. Soderstrom.

In the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, the Castle was known as the Lusk Castle, named for owner George Lusk, a prominent businessman, civic leader and founder of the National Aluminum Manufacturing Company. From the Peoria Morning Star, July 27, 1930:

George Lusk passed away in 1954, and his wife Helen passed away in 1960. They both now rest at Springdale Cemetery.


Another pic of the Lusk castle, circa November 1963:

Historic photos and news clippings are shared courtesy of the Peoria Public Library Local History Collection. Like them on Facebook for historic photos and rich samplings of local history...

...and look for the P.S. logo in future print editions for extra content on Peoria Magazines' brand-new P.S. Blog!

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Submitted by jwright on Tue, 08/22/2017 - 16:40


My late father Don Auxier from Southern,IL. would drive after getting off work for the weekends
to the castle to date my mother in 1955.
At that time dad had returned home from Korea
while serving in the United States Air Force,he was employeed by the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad as a
Mom assisted a young mother whose last name
was O'Neal with two young daughters living at the castle including mom.
I have a few photos taken of mom posing from an open window of the 2nd floor of the castle.
Later my parents were married in Peoria and one
of the little O'Neal daughters was photographed in
the wedding party in which she was included.
After the wedding my parents moved back to
Mom is now 81 years old living alone as a widow,
she always enjoyed sharing stories about the Castle or as she still calls it the O'Neal place.

Submitted by Jeffrey L Auxier on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 05:38


My mothers name was Mary M.Wells,she knew and visited Mrs Lusk many times.
I just happened across this article and I apologize if my placed in the wrong location.
I live in Nashville,IL. and still have some very fine
Crystal blue goblets and an assorted array of fine glass ware given to mom while living at the castle.
If you so desire I would donate the items free
of charge to be placed in the castle.
Mom graduated from East Peoria High School
in 1954.
The O'Neal family treated her very well with full
country club privileges plus a Ford convertable to drive
Needless to say she become quite accustomed
to luxury and a taste for the finer things of life.
My father carried on to indulge her and she still
lives vey well.
I hope you enjoy this bit of history as so many other people have associated with the Castle.
My compliments to everyone, too numerous
to mention, for preserving one of the most astounding beautiful works of architecture in this country
Thank you so much for a job well done.

Jeffrey L.Auxier
416 N. Kaskaskia St.
Nashville,IL. 62263

Submitted by Jeffrey L Auxier on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 20:43


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