Lydia At The Castle: “I Want It To Be An Incubator, And I Want It To Be A Fortress, For The Historic American Nation”
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[Adapted from Lydia Brimelow’s Welcoming Address to the Second VDARE Castle Conference, June 26, 2023]

All right! My name is Lydia Brimelow. Peter and I have been married for 16 years. I began as publisher of in 2014. And I became the president of the VDARE Foundation in 2020. I also founded and I am the president of the Berkeley Springs Castle Foundation, which is a separate nonprofit dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of this historic structure where we meet today.

As of two weeks ago, I have a new item I can add to my bio! I have my own entry in SPLC Extremist Files! And while I say that’s my own entry, the SPLC’s Hannah Gais  [Tweet her] contacted me and said in effect, “Hey, we’re about to run this. We have a whole series of questions, which if you answer we’ll totally tank you in everybody’s eyes.” And I thought, well, this is very interesting. It’s not my job to do her work for her.

But Peter’s already in the Extremist Files. And so the only response I had to her was:  “Are we the first married couple to both be featured?”

I feel like that’s a very, you know, Trad threshold to have hit! So here we are.

[Voice from the crowd: ”The Brimelows!”]

That’s right! That’s right! I was joking with a friend of mine that it feels like I just won an Industry Award!

So, in the Extremist Files, it says my “increasingly important role” is “positive and celebratory.”

And to this I say: of course!

Not long ago, Michael Hayden [Tweet him], also of the SPLC, described by saying “VDARE stands out for its organizational prowess, and its links to power.”

That’s pretty positive! And in my role as chief fundraiser of an organization dedicated to fighting for the Historic American Nation, despite the very scary pressures that everyday people in all walks of life feel, politically and socially, when it comes to our mission, I am deeply blessed to see people at their most brave, and at their most generous.

It’s easy to donate blood to the Red Cross. It takes a little more bravery to donate money to the VDARE Foundation. And I get to see it every day. And that’s something that I will always be grateful for.

How could I keep from celebrating, Michael Hayden?

I want to share that celebration with all of you.

It’s an ugly world out there. And part of what I want to offer here is a ray of hope. We started last year with our first conference and the debut of this Conference Room. For those of you that were here last year—well, for everyone—please, can we have a round of applause for all of the incredible work that has been done by our workers and volunteers, some of whom are in this room, who brought about the incredible transformation of this space? [APPLAUSE]

Peter tells me that comparisons are odious. But while last year’s conference was something really special, it was special in the way that the catacombs were special to the early Christians.

We were determined to endure, determined to continue fighting, and determined to be Uncancelled. That was the theme of our 2022 conference.

But it was pretty rough going.

I passed out surveys last year to solicit feedback from the attendees. I’m afraid I wasn’t as organized as that this year, so you guys will just have to be really opinionated when you send me your emails [Email Lydia Brimelow] after the fact! Or catch me in a quiet moment today.

Please do share any feedback, positive or negative. This is a learning curve for me and my team, and we’re happy to know ways where we can improve. And we flourish when we’re praised!

In the surveys from last year, there were two main complaints.

The first one was fairly straightforward. It was listed in all caps at the bottom of the page, and it said: ”MAJORLY DISAPPOINTED TO FIND NO CATAPULT!”

The second feedback that I got was that I did not stand at the podium and share my vision as president of the VDARE Foundation and for the castle itself.

I hope to rectify that now.

As I was thinking about this the past couple of days, the vision to me comes in two forms. One is more practical and concrete, and one is what will inspire us to continue our work.

On a practical level, there are a number of improvements that need to be made.

You may notice that the lights are bare, and the audio-visual equipment is not yet hardwired. We had a wonderful sponsor who was set up to do this, and he had a setback last year. So here we are. We will complete those things when they’re ready.

I actually did have some light fixtures that were beautiful and were going to be installed, but one of them broke in construction. Works in progress all around!

I hope in the long term to make this space ADA-compliant. As a Historic Structure, we’re grandfathered in, we’re not required to put in all the usual things, but I want to be as accommodating to immigration patriots as I possibly can be. As soon as we have the ability, I will implement things so that not everybody has to climb the huge number of stairs that it takes to come up here.

I’ve mentioned to a few of you, we have 55 acres here on Warm Springs Mountain. We have the front and the back side of the mountain. Most of it’s rough.

I would love at some point to be able to adopt some of the orphaned monuments from around the country and develop a Heritage Walk where people could walk and climb the mountain while visiting these important symbols of our American heritage.

We have one other building on the property that is in a very serious state of dilapidation. My vision for that is to have it refurbished and turn it into a library, and also a guest house.

There are a lot of books that are increasingly difficult to get your hands on these days. I think it’s going to be more and more important to have physical copies. There is also an older generation of heroic patriots who are wondering what they can do with their very special collections of interesting subject matter. I think that could be one possibility for them.

Of course, as Peter mentioned last night, there’s a $300,000 parking lot extension to consider!

As for what I want to do with the VDARE Foundation here at the castle: it’s my vision to develop it as a premier venue for patriotic Americans who value their privacy but refuse to remain isolated, alienated from other like minds and unable to develop new and creative ideas through collaboration.

Where evil actors like Letitia James and the SPLC and the thuggish enforcers hiding behind every lying and hypocritical ”Love Lives Here” campaign want to bring us to our knees, my vision is to create a space that will bring us to our feet.

I am not here to inspire the next generation, but to inspire this generation—to use our gifts to save the Historic American Nation.

What would you call this vision?

People have described it in several ways. Lauren Witzke said: ”It could be the Mar-a-Lago of West Virginia.”

Somebody else that I knew said, ”Well, it’s like an embassy. You have community events where anybody of any walk of life can come and enjoy. We’ll have a Mother’s Day Tea Party or a Day in the Gardens.”

But then you also have important work going on, such as this where American patriots come in and work to develop what’s best for the future of our community. And then behind the closed doors in the office, you have more strategic things happening that the SPLC calls “links to power.”

That sounds pretty good.

But ultimately I want it to be a hub where people can meet and develop their ideas, where they can find friendship and fraternity, which is so important in this very ugly world. I want it to be an incubator and I want it to be a fortress.

How do we manifest this, besides New Age talk? (Millennials like that!)

We do it by remaining grounded in truth and beauty in as many ways as we know how.

This room is an excellent example.

You will see at the Books Table, which is manned by Andrew [Morrison], who is right here waving!—if you’re at the Books Table and there’s nobody there and you want to buy a book, you go find Andrew! [Physical and digital copies of books can be bought online here]—you’ll see at the Books Table that we have beautiful wooden etched bookmarks for sale. They have the 1620 Society as their theme because the VDARE Foundation owes so much to our dedicated 1620 Society members.

Ultimately, we aim to make a series of bookmarks with different themes over time. You can collect them all!

In the meantime, please indulge me as I read aloud from remarks that I made at last fall’s 1620 Society meeting, where the bookmarks were first debuted.

These bookmarks are made of scrap from the cottonwood panels that ring this beautiful room, these live edge panels right here.

The cottonwood was donated by Mayflower descendants.

The cottonwood was installed by 100% American Patriot labor. The bookmarks themselves were made by a Berkeley Springs craftsman whose great-grandfather was a stone mason at this very castle.

They are a very real symbol of the Historic American Nation. The cottonwood tree from which these bookmarks were made grew in a land grant made to a veteran of service in the War of 1812. The tree was alive at that time. It grew to enormous size until it was toppled and killed in a windstorm.

It’s fitting that cottonwood be used for these 1620 Society bookmarks, because cottonwood trees were essential to the European settlement and westward expansion in North America.

Cottonwood is not strong and proud like oak, nor is it elegant like walnut. Yet to settlers and pioneers it offered life itself.

The great logs could readily be made into temporary shelter. They could be burned for warmth and for cooking. The bark and its inner bark were nutritious fodder for horses and cattle.

And finally, as pioneers pushed into the Great Plains in the west, cottonwood stood as tall beacons for water in a thirsty land, because in arid country cottonwood only grows near streams and pools.

Many an eye in wagon trains and trail drives searched the horizon for the sight of a precious cottonwood tree.

We think it fitting that this wood, long the hope of survival for so many of our people, carry the emblems of the 1620 Society, which is dedicated to the preservation of our people and our culture.

The truth is that the Historic American Nation carved this country out of nothing. It is now threatened by traitors and outsiders who want to steal what rightly belongs to us—as our Founding Fathers said, to: “Ourselves And Our Posterity.” We fight for it as an act of devotion to those we love and to the country we love, and as an act of duty for the things our ancestors fought for.

And we fight for our children.

As a Christian, I believe that one of the fundamental building blocks of a supportive and living Christian community is the sharing of Special Intentions and offering them up for prayer. is not religious in nature, but as the voice of the Historic American Nation, we reflect and defend Christianity (and Christmas!) and we condemn those who aim to corrupt it.

In the Christian spirit, I would like to share two Special Intentions that I hope you will keep in your prayers. Both are for members of our community who were unable to be with us in the room today.

The first is for Bob, a valued friend and a member of the 1620 Society.

Bob was here for our debut conference, but due to a very serious medical diagnosis, he is joining us only today by Livestream. We pray for his peace, his comfort and for his healing.

The second prayer is a joyous prayer of Thanksgiving.

Among all the growing families that we have in our robust community, in particular, we pray for the new addition to the Andrew and Emily Torba family—Eva Torba, born just a few weeks ago.

Andrew Torba is the CEO of the free speech social media company GAB; and he honored us with sponsorship of our first annual conference last year.

Please pray for the future of his family and ours as we continue to fight.

And speaking of fighting—maybe next year GAB will sponsor a catapult!

Thank you!





A native Texan, Lydia Brimelow [email her] graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2006. She is fundraiser and office manager, lion tamer, fire extinguisher and miscellany handler at She and Peter married in 2007 and have three daughters together.

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