Rev. Pittman Family Biography
The Great Depression left its mark on the Castle as well. The Simmonds family lost the Castle in 1934. It was owned by the Home Owners Loan Corporation, an entity created by an Act of Congress in 1933. It was finally purchased by the Assembly of God Church of Lawrence in 1943 for $4,000.00. It is rumored the Castle existed as a rooming house during its tenure by the Home Owners Loan Corporation, but that has not been clearly established.
The family with the shortest tenure in the Castle, was perhaps the most unlikely to inhabit this landmark. The Assembly of God Church purchased the property to disassemble the Castle, planning to use the stone to build their sanctuary on that site. One of the photos on the web site has an inscription on it, “Lawrence’s Future Church Site.” While the church was making plans to demolish the Castle, it seemed the logical place for the pastor’s family to live. So the Castle was a parsonage from 1943 to 1946.
The pastor, Paul D. Pittman, and his wife, Sarah, had one daughter, Faith Adele who was born in 1935. Faith is one of only two young girls to have lived in the Castle during childhood. Isabel Roberts was a young woman by the time the Castle was built, but the Simmond’s only daughter, Marjorie, moved into the Castle when she was five and lived there through her teen years. Faith’s daughter, Marvelyn Stout, has provided the history the Castle now has regarding the Pittmans’ brief tenure.
Unfortunately for the Pittmans and the church in Lawrence, Sarah and Paul’s marriage ended in divorce with Paul leaving in 1946. He moved to California, and became a Baptist minister. He spent the rest of his career at the Sherwood Baptist Church in Chatsworth, California. Marvelyn was close to her mother and grandmother Sarah, but had very limited contact with her grandfather Paul.
Marvelyn states her grandmother became a pastor after Paul left. Reverend Sarah Pittman was pastor of the Assemblies of God Calvary Temple in Hiawatha, Kansas. Marvelyn’s mother, Faith, married an Assembly of God minister, Blaine Stout, and they had two children, Maury and Marvelyn. Maury was an Assembly of God minister as well. He lived in Leavenworth and was pursuing a doctorate at KU. Occasionally he would stop by the Castle to sit on the front steps and eat his lunch between classes while chatting with the Castle’s property manager. Tragically, he died in 2007. Faith died in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 2005.
Marvelyn recalls visiting the Castle on two occasions when she was a child. Faith took her children to visit the Castle and talk to Libby. Marvelyn says her mother loved that Castle. She loved the sloped concrete support/side wall to the front steps. Faith liked to lie on that incline and told her daughter, “It was one of my favorite places—I hung out here all the time.” She also loved the tower room and the winding stairways, having an imaginary friend in each room.
During tours of the house, Libby was very gracious and pleased to be able to share it with the family that had previously lived there. She says Libby generously prepared food for them and was eager for them to spend time there. Both Libby and Faith were eager to point out the fine woodwork to the two young children. Marvelyn recalls how much her mother wanted these visits to be learning experiences for them.