By Kyran Crist / Online Editor
It may not be the top of the world but it sure can make you get a taste of it.
In a castle on a hilltop, as you overlook the Smoky Valley, you feel like you’re on top of at least Kansas. Where else could this be except the Coronado Heights Castle, just northwest of Lindsborg?
You have to be on the lookout for a street sign and castle itself, because those are the only indicators given on the way to the sight. It is tucked away in its own little Kansas pocket, blending in with the hills.
At the bottom of the hill lies the Smoky Valley Cemetery, but do not be fooled. There is no entrance to the castle through the cemetery. Two brick walls on each side of a drive another few hundred feet down the road is your entrance.
You go up the Swensson drive, which loops around the hill to its peak.
The Works Progress Administration, a New Deal-era jobs program, built the Castle in 1936, allegedly on the same spot where Spanish conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado gave up his search for the seven cities of gold in 1541. In 1915, a professor from Bethany College named the area after its legacy.
Inside the castle are two large cement tables with cement benches on either side, a small fireplace in the corner, and stairs to the roof to overlook the land around the hill. The castle is made mostly rock, cement and wood, from its stairs to its tables, benches and walls. But even with the years of wearing on the castle, it is still in a sturdy and safe condition.
There are two trails off to the castle’s left and just past the outhouse that fork off at the beginning of the path. The right path offers a woodsier and more secluded trail, and the one to the left a more open trail with a scenic hike of the land around.
To the right of the castle are small dugouts with picnic tables, fireplaces and a steep staircase to a statue sculpted by John Whitfield in 1988. The stone statue states that Coronado is “A Place to Share,” imprinting the feeling that Coronado Heights is a place people can come to gather and share in community.