#10 Montezuma Castle (on the campus of the United World College)

That’s right, there’s a castle in the middle of New Mexico.

When you think of castles, images of motes and drawbridges might come to mind. But just 5 miles outside of Las Vegas stands Montezuma Castle. Built as a destination hotel by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1886, this 90,000-square-foot Queen Anne structure was considered one of the places to visit at the turn of the century. As a luxury hotel, the castle capitalized on the area’s natural hot springs, and was a gateway to the excellent trout fishing in nearby Gallinas Creek. Guests included Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Jesse James, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. After closing in 1903, the property was owned by several institutions including the YMCA, the Southern Baptist Church, the Catholic Church, and was even rented out for low-budget horror movies like The Evil. Then in 1981, the complex (100 acres) was purchased by the United World College, and in 2001 the school invested over $10.5 million in upgrades. Now Montezuma Castle (or the Davis International Center as it’s know today) houses multiple college facilities including the school’s dinning hall, dorm rooms, offices and classrooms. It has also won many awards as one of the great historical restorations in the United States, and was designated one of “America’s Treasures” by the White House Millennium Council. The building is only open to the public on certain days of the year, so check with the school’s website (www.uwc-usa.org/index.cfm) for dates and times.


Top United World College photo courtesy of Andy Kingsbury.

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