Campbell Castle in Wichita: Just the Place for a Little Upscale Barbecue

The Gilded Age mansions of the East Coast owe their existence to moguls who amassed fortunes by forging steel, running railroads, or spanning the country with telegraph and later telephone wires.

But as you move west, you'll find equally impressive estates that owe their existence to different engines of wealth -- namely cattle and oil. Such is the case with this 13,457-square-foot mansion on the market for $3.5 million in Wichita, KS.

The property -- with 17 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, and three half-baths spread out over the Richardsonian Romanesque -- style main house and carriage house -- was constructed from 1886 to 1888 by Burton Harvey Campbell, known locally as Barbecue Campbell.

Campbell made his first fortune in lumber on the East Coast, but he eventually moved west and became a major figure in the cattle trade.

After visiting castles in Scotland, he wanted a home that reflected the structures he'd seen, explains listing agent Marilyn Hoffman. So he commissioned a Boston architect to build a castle on 2 acres on the banks of the Little Arkansas River.

Campbell Castle was passed on to other owners after Campbell's death in the early 1900s, even serving as a high school for a time, before the current owners bought it in 1994 and began a $2 million restoration, Hoffman explains.

Today the home is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is "like going back in time," Hoffman says. Original floors made of walnut, maple, and Canadian mahogany have been restored. Fireplaces that date hundreds of years, shipped in during the original construction, are placed throughout the house as is original stained glass. But the home also includes modern amenities such as air conditioning, six whirlpool tubs, and a two-car garage.

The main house is 10,457 square feet with 13 bedrooms and 15.5 bathrooms. It has a basement apartment that can be used for live-in staff. There's also a four-bedroom carriage house, where the owners live.

The owners had operated the main house as a bed-and-breakfast for 13 years while also renting it out for special events, including parties for hundreds of guests, Hoffman says. A new owner could again operate it as a B&B and special events venue.

The home would also make a perfect corporate headquarters, Hoffman says, or simply a luxurious home for someone who wants to live as original owner Campbell once did. And if they do, they should be sure to hold a barbecue or two in his honor.