Dictionary.com defines a castle as “a large and stately residence, especially one, with high walls and towers, that imitates the form of a medieval castle.” Another definition is simply, “any place providing security and privacy.” Way back in June 2015, we brought you
6 Castles Hidden in Missouri. Turns out, we missed quite a few! Some of these are castles in the traditional sense, some are more modern, and some are even just in ruins or were never completed. What they have in common is that they are architectural wonders and a sight to see. Here are 13 more wonderful places you can find in our great state.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Kennett’s castle AKA Selma Hall
Selma Hall, or "Kennett's Castle." is located four miles south of Festus and one mile east of Highway 61. Designed by George I. Barnett, it is patterned after North Italian Renaissance country houses. Built in 1854 for $125,000, it’s probably the finest antebellum home in Missouri. It earned the name Kennett's Castle by river men who persisted in calling it a castle due to its gray limestone walls and square, four-story gun tower. Terraces provided views of the Mississippi River to the east and to the west, landscaped grounds including a formal garden.
The castle was occupied by the Kennett family until Civil War time, when the castle was frequently fired upon from boats on the Mississippi. As a result, the family fled to St. Louis for safety. Union forces stabled their horses in the stone mansion, and eventually the magnificent structure was left in ruin, even gutted by fire in 1939. The home was eventually restored to its original impressive elegance.
2. Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins
A man named Robert McClure Snyder started building The Ha Ha Tonka castle in 1905. The name comes from the local Native Americans who referred to the area as “ha ha tonka”, meaning “laughing waters,” for the springs that would be located below the castle. Sadly, Snyder was killed in an auto accident in 1906. The castle was completed by his sons Robert Jr., LeRoy, and Kenneth in the late 1920s. It was used as a hotel until it was destroyed by fire in 1942.
In 1978, the State of Missouri purchased the castle and grounds and opened it to the public as Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The water tower was repaired in 2004, a new roof was installed, and the castle walls have been stabilized. The ruins can best be seen from an observation point across from the post office.
3. Pensmore Mansion, Highlandville
The 72,000 square feet all concrete Pensmore Mansion is being constructed in the hills South of Springfield near Highlandville. When complete, the house is designed to withstand an earthquake, bomb blast and a direct hit from an F-5 tornado. In addition, there are rumors and conspiracy theories that believe the site is being built as some sort of bunker for the Illuminati. Supposedly, the new government, after surviving some sort of Armageddon but having been safe in Pensmore, will use the place as a new American White House from which they will rule.
Check out this video!
4. Sky High Castle, near Joplin
Sky High Castle has long enchanted local admirers. The European-style stone castle was built high on the cliffs of southwest Missouri, just south of Joplin and right off of Shoal Creek. It has a large turret and battlements along the top, with adjacent terraced hillsides, stone patios, fish ponds and surrounding forest creating a unique atmosphere. There is a spectacular view of the Shoal Creek Valley that extends ten miles eastward. It is said that they used to have big parties there in its prime. Around Christmas time they used to put a huge star above the top tower, lit up so you could see it from a distance.
5. Elmwood, Cape Girardeau
The families of Alexander Giboney and Andrew Ramsay settled in this area with land granted to them from the King of Spain in 1797. Giboney and his wife, Rebecca Ramsey settled on the land now known as Elmwood. Around 1808, plans were drawn up for a permanent home, which was built by slaves. The house was modeled after the Ramsay family castle in Scotland, Dalhousie.
In November 2005, about 900 acres of the original land grant was sold to create the Dalhousie Golf Club. At that time, Pat Evans, a descendant of Rebecca Ramsey, still lived in the mansion and maintained about 70 acres of the property.
6. Chateau Charmant, Fordland
Unlike many of these castles, Chateau Charmant is relatively new. It was and continues to be a labor of love for Bob and Bonnie Palmer and their daughter Brittany. After moving to Fordland from southern California near the end of 2003, Robert sent Bonnie a drawing of a castle-like home, with the words "I want to build you a castle" written across the bottom. Although Bonnie objected at first, she eventually acquiesced and from that original sketch Chateau Charmant became a reality, inspired by a magnificent 14th century French Chateau. Almost all of the work was done by the Palmers'. It is believed to be the largest castle built by the smallest crew in the world. Up until recently, the castle was rented out for Fairy Tale weddings.
Location: 1700 Martins Branch Road, Fordland
7. Stuart Castle, Eureka
The castle is located off of Lewis Road on the Meramec River in St. Louis County. It was built when Dr. Stuart, a dermatologist, acquired the estate which overlooked a picturesque bend of the Meramec River. An old house built in the early 1900s was located on the property. Dr. Stuart essentially had a castle built around this old structure completely enveloping it. Supposedly the castle was a shrine to his wife, and when she left him he was devastated, and he basically disappeared. When he finally resurfaced, his broken heart could not permit him to return to the estate. He put it up for sale, but with one stipulation in the deed. Whoever bought the property could not tear down the castle but would have to restore it. The building stood vacant for over 20 years.
When it was finally purchased it was in an advanced state of disrepair, but the buyers where ready to rehabilitate the castle. Although much was dilapidated and trees grew in strange places, other strange things were found. Pressure sensitive strips were discovered under the carpet to show where a person was walking. There were secret passages throughout the entire living area with inconspicuous peep holes into the rooms. On the top floor, surrounded with windows, was what appeared to be a command center with heavily secured doors. The kitchen area had granite stones in the walls with bizarre phrases inscribed. The basement resembled a dungeon with two-foot-thick concrete walls.
Another interesting feature was a bookcase that would swing out to reveal a set of stairs leading to the working basement. The castle is privately owned.
Check out this video!
8. T.R. Goulding Castle, Ironton
The T.R. Goulding Castle is located in Ironton on 3.89 acres at the base of Shepherd Mountain. This grandly designed, yet practically sized (approx. 2,270 sqft) historic property is one of the truly unique and marvelous landmarks of Iron County. It borders the city-owned 640-acre tract of wilderness atop the mountain, creating tranquil forest surroundings. It was put up for auction in 2012 after being home to the The Misselhorn family since 1999. They did significant work on the property including aesthetic improvements, a new hot water heater and furnace, and a new rubber roof.
9. Parkhurst Castle AKA Windmoor Bed & Breakfast, Sedalia
This modern castle brings Old World charm to today's upgraded modern luxuries. The castle has 7 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms and rests on a magnificent 49 scenic acres. The 5-acre lake behind estate is fully stocked with fish. It has been completely restored with rich woodwork, opulent tapestries and antique furniture brought over from estates in Italy and Europe. It features a ballroom, library, large family room, fireplaces, and some walls as thick as 2 feet.
Remodeling as recently as 2008 includes new multi-zoned heating and cooling making it more energy efficient, and an upgraded kitchen including the installation of beautiful exotic granite. The property has also been known as Windmoor Bed and Breakfast, and is currently on sale on
Location: 19224 Y Hwy, Sedalia
10. Miller Mausoleum - Little Castle of the Dead, Holden
Just outside of Holden is a mini-castle that is actually a huge mausoleum.
Check out this video:
11. Wood-Smith Castle, Arnold
The abandoned Wood-Smith castle was a
back in November for Only in Missouri. These ruins located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi were meant to be a magnificent castle, but were never finished.
Check out this video:
12. Iron Hill Castle, St. Clair
This castle was built by a man named Frank DeClue. He built it himself by hand, having drug every stone home on a trailer bed from some creek, river, or quarry. When his wife died in the early '80s he quit working on the house, so the interior was never completely finished. The castle is possibly currently up for sale.
13. Tiffany Castle, The Kansas City
Another castle currently for sale on
is the Tiffany Castle in Kansas City. It is a historic property nestled in the trees high above Cliff Drive overlooking the Missouri River. Although wonderfully secluded, it is still close to Downtown Kansas City. The property is architecturally glorious with commanding views, stone walls and concrete construction. It features a stone fireplace, imported and domestic woodwork, and stunning stained and beveled glass.
Location: 100 Garfield Avenue, Kansas City
Have you seen any of these places? Do you have any interesting facts to add? Did we still miss some castles? Share your stories, photos, and comments below.