Reader, Writer, Reviewer

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?).

Author: Julie Merilatt

I live in a Chicago suburb with my husband and a house full of books. Book collecting, reading, and reviewing consume my life. I have a special affinity for all things Alice in Wonderland. I began my education at Carthage College, wanting to be an English teacher. Eventually I decided that Carthage and I weren’t a good fit anymore, so I transferred to North Park University, where I realized I didn’t want to be a teacher. So I finished my education with a degree in English with a writing concentration. I was always a voracious reader and wrote my first review in April 2007. I don’t remember why exactly I decided to write a review, only that I had just finished The Agony and the Ecstasy and had a strong feeling that I needed to express how I felt about it. This inspired me to write reviews about each book I wrote and after posting on Amazon for two years, I was invited into the Amazon Vine program. I am also an active reviewer/member of Goodreads and enjoy being an active member of the online book community.

5 thoughts on “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. 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

  3. Pingback: Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts | JulzReads

  4. Used Book Sale

    The Dickmann Estate Castle Book Store

    Saturday July 2nd
    10:00 am – 5:00 pm
    Dickmann Farm
    W 1778 County Road K, Markesan, Wi

    More information – Lynne Lyndygold@gmail.com

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