Joslyn Castle is Omaha’s bid for royalty


Joslyn Castle
Joslyn Castle

Built in 1903, George and Sarah Joslyn completed Omaha’s lone castle. The 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion was built on Omaha’s outskirts, where the Joslyns could look out from atop the hill. The castle was referred to as “Lynhurst” by the owners. But the name never caught on with locals, who called it Joslyn Castle.

Located nearby is an old carriage house.

Joslyn Castle
Carriage House

The Joslyns lived in the home until 1940. George died in 1916. Sarah lived to reach 88, passing away in 1940. The property was donated to the city after Sarah’s death.

Some of the property was destroyed during the 1913 Easter tornado. The tornado killed about 150 people citywide.

The castle served a couple of missions since the donation. Omaha Public Schools used it as its administrative offices from the mid-1940s through 1989. The state of Nebraska took it over then, in an effort to maintain the building’s integrity and structure.

Today, Joslyn castle is open for tours, weddings and other functions. Tours are offered the first and third Sundays of each month.

Joslyn Castle
Stained glass windows

We thought we’d plop down our $10 each and check out the facility. We’ve visited the grounds before. The landscape is beautiful, with well-kept gardens and trees.

Joslyn Castle
Garden area

The tour was impressive. Though, I would have liked to have seen some period pieces scattered about on the main floor. But, since the mansion is rented out, it makes sense to keep it sparse the rest of the time.

The mansion maintains a Scottish flavor to the décor. Thistle – the national flower of Scotland – can be seen in artwork on the walls and in some light fixtures.

Joslyn Castle
Scotland’s national flower – the Thistle

Scottish gods of lore can be seen carved into light fixtures and wood throughout the house.

Joslyn Castle
Old light fixtures with iconic faces on them

The library included some well-built shelf units. The craftsmanship used back in the day was immaculate. The work is truly impressive.

Joslyn Castle
The library

Sarah would spend her day managing the household from her office in the Blue Room, also known as the day room. It has a beautiful view of the grounds.

Joslyn Castle
Living room area

The room has some fantastic trimming. Gold highlights the ceiling’s trim work.

Joslyn Castle
Gold ornate work on the ceilings

The dining room offered ample space for the Joslyns to enjoy dinner or entertain guests. There was a foot button for George to press, alerting the staff they were ready for assistance or the next dinner course. That reminds me a bit of “Downton Abbey.”

Joslyn Castle
Dining room

The lighting on the first floor is a mix between original chandeliers and replicas. Since the Omaha school district used the building, some of the original lighting was replaced.

Joslyn Castle
Love the light fixtures

The staircase was beautiful. The dark, hand-crafted railing provides a bit of elegance.

Joslyn Castle
The staircase used dark wood with a lot of design cuts

The master bedroom on the second floor was large. It, too, had a beautiful view of the grounds. Sarah moved from this room to the adjoining room following George’s death.

Joslyn Castle
Master bedroom

Their adopted daughter had her room at the end of the hall from her parents.

Joslyn Castle
The daughter’s room had a beautiful view outside

A room on the third floor was used for entertaining large groups, including dances. We’ve noticed on previous tours that a lot of socialites used the top floor of their mansion for entertaining guests.

Following the tour of the house, we walked the grounds, taking in the beauty and fragrances of the flowers and plants. A round garden in front of the house included thistle plants.

Joslyn Castle
Flower bed near the front entrance

Flowers are abundant in the gardens during the summer months.

Joslyn Castle
Flowers are scattered around the grounds

Joslyn Castle was one of the first arboretums in Nebraska. The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Joslyn Castle is Omaha’s closest connection to a European castle. It is, though, an impressive place to visit and maybe take a stroll back to the early days of the 20th century.

For more information on Joslyn Castle, please visit