The two main buildings making up Winsor Castle were divided by use: the family lived in the north building; the south building was reserved for guests, industry, and a variety of other activities.
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The upper rooms in the north building housed the family living quarters. Young children would have slept in beds at the east end of the large room shown below. There was a separate "master bedroom" adjoining this room.
Part of the large room above was kept clear of furniture so that it could be used for a variety of purposes, including school for children and church services.
This is the first location on the tour where you can see gunports high on the walls, reminding you that this was not just a ranch house, but a fortification as well. Today the gunports are closed with Plexiglas, but when the ranch families lived here they remained open. With these open, the heat from a small stove was probably very welcome on cold winter mornings.
In the ceiling of the meeting room is the entrance to the lookout tower. The intent was to boost a person--possibly a young child--into the tower, where he or she could keep watch and warn of attacks.
The tower offered a commanding view to the west, east, and south, as well as a portion of the hillside immediately to the north of the fort. But Winsor Castle never served its intended role as a fort staving off attack.
Before the fort was completed in 1872, a peace affirmation was made with the Navajo, the southern tribe the settlers feared the most. You can see in the photo above that the cat-walk system possibly planned below the high gunports was never completed. Without this cat-walk, it would have been very difficult to use the gunports, which are nearly eight feet above floor level.
Later, a door (to the left in the photo at the top) was installed in the west wall to allow access to the outside. Because Winsor Castle is set into a low hillside, it is only a single step from this door to ground level. The photo to the left shows both this door and the lookout tower with flagpole on the roof of the west building.
Last updated: April 16, 2020