Within the Fairy Castle
For the recent holidays, the Hubs and I visited beautiful Chicago. As we are wont to do, we planned our trip using a Frommers guide. Getting ready to visit the Museum of Science and Industry, I spied a little suggestion by the book’s travel writer:
“I hate to indulge in gender stereotypes, but girls (myself included) love Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, a lavishly decorated miniature palace filled with priceless treasures (yes, those are real diamonds and pearls in the chandeliers). The castle is hidden on the lower level.”
I’m SO glad I spied those two sentences because it turned out to be a trip highlight. We would have completely missed the exhibition had it not been for that information. Phew! a few times over, let me tell you. Colleen Moore was the most popular and highest paid movie actress during the silent film era. The castle was built during the Great Depression and used the talents of over 700 artisans and craftsmen. It was created to embody fairy tale themes. Made of aluminum, the tallest tower stands at seven feet and the whole castle is nine feet square.? Professionals were used to build and design it — from architects to interior designers to master electricians — and it took seven years to complete. It is magnificent in person.
Ms. Moore spent about $500,000 to bring the castle’s 14 rooms to life.
It seems an incredible amount now, much less during the Great Depression. It warms my heart that it must have helped the artisans financially.
Would you like a look at the vaulted ceiling? Well, I’ll oblige you. Actually, it’s a MUST.
To give you a size reference, here is an image of Colleen Moore sitting within the Great Hall, which we just saw above. These images were culled from the wonderful book Within the Fairy Castle: Colleen Moore’s Doll House as put together by the Museum of Science and Industry. The incredible photography is by Karant + Associates. I’m so glad they put together a book with these images (and so many, many more) along with the fascinating history — it would have been so sad for me to have relied on my memories of the castle’s beautiful artworks.
Oh, yes. An incredible ceiling in the Chapel, of course.
If in Chicago, please do stop at the Museum of Science and Industry to see this exhibit as well as the other incredible ones they have. I’ll continue sharing some of my adventures in Chicago during the coming weeks — what a glorious city!