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The Castle’s Stained Glass Windows Shine For A Century

Levi & Lady the Dog during The Castle Remodel | Photo credit: Levi Andersen

If you haven’t already heard, The Castle at 501 Prospect is undergoing a remodeling process. This historic landmark has stood in Beloit for a century, once serving as the hub for the Presbyterian Congregation. However, due to maintenance challenges, John and Jody Wittnebel eventually acquired it. Despite their years of dedication, they eventually decided to part ways with the property.

Levi Andersen, the creative mind and owner behind the beloved 70’s-themed hotspot, 5BAR, nestled in downtown Beloit, is always on the lookout for innovative ways to enrich the community. Levi had the perfect opportunity for a new project when The Castle was up for sale. “I remember the night before 5BAR’s fourth anniversary when the previous owners of The Castle stopped by for a nightcap,” Levi reminisced. “They were talking about The Castle and how many people have made offers and the financing or vision wouldn’t quite align. For such a unique place, the Wittnebels knew that if they were to sell the building, it had to be for the right owner.” Recognizing the significance of such a unique building, Levi swiftly made an offer, and sealed the deal within seven weeks.

Levi previously owned rental property in Madison but shifted and moved to Beloit a few years ago with a vision to open 5BAR. If you haven’t been to 5BAR, you could picture it to “feel familiar and cozy, like a place you’ve already been to.” The ambiance and atmosphere of 5BAR is quite unique, and with Levi’s ideas, The Castle will take on the same approach.

The Castle | Photo credit: Mark Preuschl

One might say that The Castle was calling Levi’s name to be the next owner of the building. Since purchasing the building and spending a lot of time there during the complete renovation, there are many things to appreciate for such a historic landmark, one of them being the stained glass windows. “There are so many stories within its walls that I’d love to bring to light someday, but the interesting story I’d like to share here is how it took a few weeks to really appreciate the stained glass windows,” he expresses. Just by taking a look at the windows, it is not hard to realize how impressive and gorgeous they are. There were two moments for Levi when he said he was “really struck to the point of physically saying “Wow” about the windows.”

Initially, while exploring the building alone, Levi stumbled upon a plaque beneath one of the windows, a discovery that soon led him to uncover multiple plaques by each window. It dawned on him that each window in the building was dedicated to different families or individuals, all dating back to April 8th, 1924. As time ticked onward toward the present day, Levi couldn’t contain his excitement upon realizing that he would be the owner when these windows reached their centennial milestone. Levi later stumbled upon the intriguing news that April 8, 2024, coincided with a partial solar eclipse in Beloit. To Levi, it truly felt like unreal timing in the fact that 100 years later would be the exact date for a solar eclipse. “That seems like a fantastic party to throw and time to give them appreciation,” Levi laughs.

Window Plaque | Photo Credit: Levi Andersen

Furthermore, during another normal routine day of construction, Levi experienced a moment that was nothing like he’d ever experienced before. As he was in the choir loft, above the sanctuary, Levi found himself in disbelief when the breathtaking glow of the golden hour unfolded. He recalls that “as the golden hour came, it just so happened that the clouds broke and the stained glass windows started to emit the most intense golden light on me,” to him, “it absolutely felt like a religious experience.”

Considering the unforgettable and distinctive moments Levi encountered throughout the renovation journey, he’d thought it would only be appropriate to name the project after the iconic stained glass windows. “Golden Hour” seemed like an ideal choice, perfectly capturing the experience he had while working on renovations.

Levi Celebrating The Castle Remodel | Photo credit: Levi Andersen

Golden Hour is set to open on April 8, 2024, during the solar eclipse event. The space will be an elevated experience, with Levi’s vision for a viewing platform and bar overlooking the sanctuary area. Additionally, the venue will be available for hosting a variety of events, including weddings, concerts, and live entertainment performances.

Numerous events have already been booked. For more information, visit Golden Hour’s Facebook or Instagram page.

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