Castle Farms History
Did you know that Castle Farms started out as a dairy farm? Or that it was once considered “Rock n’Roll Central”, playing host to major bands like The Doobie Brothers, The Beach Boys, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Willie Nelson, Def Leppard, and Aerosmith, to name a few? It’s hard to believe one property could have so much history, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Built in 1918 by Albert Loeb, the acting President of Sears, Roebuck, and Co. as a model dairy farm, Loeb Farms was modeled after the stone barns and castles found in Normandy, France. At its peak the farm was the largest employer in Charlevoix County, with over 90 people on its payroll. It had over 200 head of prize-winning Holstein-Friesian and 13 pair of Belgian draft horses. It even had its own baseball team- the Sodbusters. You’ll see amazing photos of the construction, farm years, and restoration during a guided or self-guided tour.
After the farm closed, the buildings fell into severe disrepair. In 1962, John VanHaver purchased one hundred acres of the original Loeb Farms property and renamed it Castle VanHaver. Open to the public in 1966, it was an art gallery, with a working artist studio on site. Many pieces from this time period are on display throughout the Castle.
Arthur and Edwina Reibel purchased the property in 1969. They tried out many businesses, but eventually settled on a music theater and summer concert area, under the name Castle Farms Summer Music Theater. The property played host to many concerts through the 1970’s to early 1990’s. See concert stubs and other memorabilia during your visit as well as a list of who rocked the Castle.
Linda Mueller purchased Castle Farms in 2001 and began an extensive restoration project. The first Castle Farms wedding was held in 2002 and the first Grand Bridal Expo was in 2004. In 2008 the Model Railroad was added, increasing activities for visiting families and groups. Since then, Castle Farms has earned many awards of excellence. We hope you’ll visit us to learn more about our multifaceted property!