Book Store in a Manure Silo

I can’t believe I didn’t blog about this months ago…  A few years back, I was made aware of a highly unique and wonderful book store near where my family and I vacation annually.  Up in the area of Green Lake, Wisconsin is Castle Arkdale, a charming farm where a retired professor and her  husband converted their outbuildings into vast retail space.  Leonore Dickman’s husband was generous enough to turn a former manure silo into a castle-like space full of used and antique books.  An old barn houses another immense collection of books.  Leonore guessed she had over a million books available! (Here’s a cute video with a tour of the grounds)

I first went to Castle Arkdale in 2008, (see pictures), and was thoroughly overwhelmed, so I had to go back in 2009. When I returned in 2010, I overheard the regular folks talking about Leonore being unable to care for the land and the buildings much longer.  She and Mr. Dickman were no longer living on the property and had moved to an assisted living home, and there seemed to be questions hanging in the air.  Who would take over when the Dickman’s were no longer able to tend to the store?  What would be done with their vast inventory?

Alas, when I went on my annual pilgrimage in 2011, I found the doors locked and the farm deserted.  Perhaps they had ended their season earlier than they had in past years and didn’t want to stay open as late as Labor Day weekend.  I will call again this year and see what the story is before I drive down the country roads, but I wanted to share with you my incredible experience at this one-of-a-kind bibliophile’s dream.

The outside of the silo/castle, complete with drawbridge and moat

Julz in the castle with the knight in shining armor

My friend Jim at the opposite end of the large book barn. For a sense of scale, keep in mind he's 6'7".

I only wish I had thought to take more pictures of the inventory, but this was looong before I was a blogger (almost 4 years!  And who did I think I was with those black-framed glasses, Elvis Costello?).

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Book Store in a Manure Silo

  1. The Dickmans still open the castle on Saturdays, starting in the morning and running until about 2 in the afternoon all summer. I dont think they open it past Labor Day, thats probably why you missed them.

  2. terri taylor

    I was there in maybe 2010 and marveled at the assortment. Am an avid reader & collector of certain authors. Please keep us informed on their status. I am a Wisconsin native but, currently live in FL & get up there every summer to the Milwaukee area . Occasionally up to the northern regions . So please let us know of any changes. Luv your site, Terri

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