Get enchanted by these 10 castles in Arizona

Get enchanted by these 10 castles in Arizona

(Public Domain Photo)

By Teresa K. Traverse

June 25, 2024

Did you know there are castles in Arizona? Learn more about ten of them that are spread throughout the state and prepare to be enchanted.

Castles are grand structures predominately located all over Europe and where royalty once resided exclusively. Since the public has always had a fascination with how the elite live, it makes sense that castles would still inspire people today.

Although castles in the United States are not always historical, you can still find plenty of buildings throughout the country that resemble these storied dwellings. You can even find a few castle-like buildings scattered throughout Arizona. Here are 10 castles in the Grand Canyon State.

Please keep in mind that most of these structures are privately owned homes that are not open to the public and are not available for tours unless mentioned in the text.

 

Mystery Castle

800 E. Mineral Road in central Phoenix

Located at the base of South Mountain, the Mystery Castle in Phoenix was built by Boyce Gully for his daughter Mary Lou. According to the Mystery Castle’s website, she asked him to build her a sand castle that wouldn’t wash away. What he came up with was the Mystery Castle.

This stone structure features 18 rooms, 13 fireplaces, and a mish-mash of décor. Mary Lou actually lived in the castle until her death in 2010. We toured this place years ago (tours are not currently being offered), and each room is so different from one another. It’s unlike any other home we’ve ever stepped inside. Rooms feature wooden bed frames, a wooden piano, and sweeping views of South Mountain.

Please note that the Mystery Castle is not currently open for tours. Here’s what’s on the official website: “The Castle will not be opening for tours. Vandalism and summer storms have taken a toll. We will not reopen until we have a resolution. Thank you for your support for all these years.”   

 

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

5025 E. Van Buren Street in Phoenix

Located right off the 202 freeway, the Tovrea Castle is one of Phoenix’s most recognizable sites. The tiered, four-story building (some say it looks like a wedding cake) was constructed in the 1920s. It’s also pretty tough to take a tour of this place. There’s a ticket lottery that’s only open for a select number of days. But if you can snag a ticket, you’ll get to take a look inside a building that has an interesting history.

Here’s an abbreviated version: The castle takes its name from its former owner, Edward Ambrose Tovrea. He was born in Chicago, made a living by running a freight transportation company, and then ran a series of butcher shops in Arizona. He founded the Arizona Packing Company. In 1931, Tovrea and his second wife, Della, purchased the castle from its previous owner Alessio Carraro. Within a year of that purchase, he passed away. Della lived in the home until she died in 1969. The castle and the 44 acres it sits on were purchased by the city of Phoenix in 1993. It was opened to the public for docent-led tours in 2012.

Currently, the home’s basement and first floor are available for tours. Visitors also can check out the surrounding gardens that feature plenty of desert fauna.

Of note: Mark your calendars for Oct. 1-15. That’s when the ticket lottery for the castle opens. 

Get enchanted by these 10 castles in Arizona

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via CC BY-SA 3.0.

Camelback Castle or Copenhaver Castle

5050 E. Red Rock Drive in Phoenix

The name of this castle says it all, as it was built into Camelback Mountain. Dr. Mort Copenhaver purchased a more than one-acre plot of land in 1967, according to camelbackcastle.com. The rest of this blurb is all sourced from that site.

He spent the next 12 years building a Moorish-style castle in the shadow of one of Phoenix’s most prominent landmarks. The stone used in the castle was actually from Camelback Mountain and gives the castle a natural feel. Copenhaver was known for throwing lavish parties in this spacious home that even had some A-list celebrity guests of the era.

The lavish home has some unique spaces. Some notable features of the 20-room home features include a dungeon (yes!) with a wet bar, four fireplaces, a 22-person Jacuzzi, and a sauna along with a 17-foot waterfall in the living room.

Copenhaver sadly lost the home when he declared bankruptcy in 1989. The home has been a private residence since then. The current owner is businessman Robert Pazderka. He is working on restoring the property and hopes to have the castle designed as a historic landmark at some point. According to its website, the home may be available for private parties in the future. 

Get enchanted by these 10 castles in Arizona

Photo courtesy of Marine 69-71 via CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Ashley Castle

1300 S. Price Road in Chandler

Chandler’s Ashley Castle is a wedding and events venue modeled after a castle (of course) that opened its doors in 2006. Now, about those doors: The owners purchased these 200-year-old grand doors that may have come from a castle in Asia. This purchase inspired them to open a real castle in Arizona. In true grand fashion, the exterior features a water fountain, a stone turret, and those aforementioned doors. Inside, visitors can find typical castle features like knight’s armor, chandeliers, columns, and wood beams. One highlight? The 4,800-square-foot grand ballroom.

The Castle Apartments in Tucson

721 E. Adams Street in Tucson

Tucson is home to a 32-unit apartment complex that’s appropriately titled The Castle Apartments. These are all studio and one-bedroom apartments that range in size from 375 to 600 square feet. The name is likely due to the fact that the building’s exterior resembles an off-white castle that comes complete with a turret.

The apartments, HOWEVER, don’t reflect the castle’s exterior. The interiors have plenty of traditional features like tile floors, wood door frames, and tile in the kitchen and bathroom counters.

 

Sand Castle Guest House

Yuma

Yuma’s Sand Castle Guest House really does resemble a castle with its rectangular shape located smack dab in the middle of the desert. The four-bedroom and two-bath home, which is available to book on Airbnb, is surrounded by palm trees. Model horses and knight’s armor are even located outside of one exterior door. In keeping with the castle theme, the home features décor like crossing swords on the wall and gold fixtures located throughout. 

 

Agua Verde Castle or Dupont Castle

Vail

It’s tough to find any official information about the Agua Verde Castle or the Dupont Castle, which is located just outside of Tucson in Vail. You might have spotted it the last time you were driving as it’s located near Interstate 10. What we’re writing about here is sourced from this document that was prepared by Barbara Wuehrman in February of 2013.

Here’s a brief summary of the document: The castle was supposedly built in the 1970s by Duane Durham and his wife Ginny. The couple had two daughters, who have both since moved out. There might be a small train that circles the property. For more information about the castle, check out this resource.

Of note: To get an even closer look at this castle, you can see an even better view of this place if you hike the Arizona Trail.

 

Barlow-Massicks House or “The Castle”

Near Fain Park, 2200 N. Fifth Street, in Prescott Valley

Located right by Fain Park in Prescott Valley, the Barlow-Massicks House, or “the Castle,” was once owned by one of the area’s wealthy businessmen. The home is named after Thomas Gibson Barlow-Massicks and was built sometime in the 1890s. He served in the British army and eventually founded the Lynx Creek Hydraulic Works.

According to Prescott Valley’s official website, Barlow-Massicks “dominated mining operations along Lynx Creek for 14 years.” His home (nicknamed “The Castle” likely due to its triangle-shaped roof) was a grand four-story Victorian mansion that still stands today. Jerry Munderloh restored the home and gave an oral history you can read here. He resided in the home with his family. You can read more about this house on the Sharlot Hall Museum website 

Get enchanted by these 10 castles in Arizona

Photo courtesy of Marine 69-71 via CC BY-SA 4.0.

Castle Northern Arizona

Flagstaff

Flagstaff’s Castle Northern Arizona is an Airbnb property that can sleep up to 14 guests. The property is surrounded by Flagstaff’s lush green pines. The 12-bedroom and five-bathroom home is a sprawling 6,200 square feet. The property also has a 3,000-square-foot enclosed garage and meeting area. The vacation rental certainly resembles a castle. The exterior is made of what looks like stone. Columns resembling stone are in the bathroom and are in the archways. Many of the windows are also shaped like arches—just like the ones you’d find in cathedrals.

Chateau de Vie

1220 N. Kyrene Road in Chandler

We recently paid a visit to Chandler’s Chateau de Vie, which does resemble a castle of sorts. This magnificent mansion is open for tours only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and has a small store that sells products made from lavender grown on property. Read a more in depth write-up of this place here.

Get enchanted by these 10 castles in Arizona

Photo courtesy of Teresa Traverse.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Get enchanted by these 10 castles in ArizonaGet enchanted by these 10 castles in Arizona

 

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Author

  • Teresa K. Traverse

    Teresa K. Traverse is a Phoenix, Arizona-based writer and editor. Her work also has appeared in national print outlets including Weight Watchers, Bust and Parenting magazines and on sites like Tripadvisor, Wine Enthusiast, SFGate, Brides, Rachael Ray Every Day, Bustle, Racked, ForRent.com, WeddingWire, Refinery29, The Daily Meal, Oxygenmag.com, USA Today and Fast Company. She's the managing editor of Sedona Monthly. In her spare time, she loves hiking, reading magazines and spending quality time with her long-haired Chihuahua, Rocket. Visit teresaktraverse.com to check out more of her work.

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