“A homemade castle on the coast of Florida!”
Castle Otttis was created as an original landscape-sculpture... A landscape-sculpture is defined as a structure built to adorn or to view the landscape. Castle Otttis is an impression of an Irish castle of 1,000 years ago. The interior was created under guidance of historians from the Catholic Diocese of Northeast Florida to evoke an atmosphere of an Abbey (or early Christian church) in Ireland during the same period. The Castle is made available by appointment to schools, churches, colleges, universities, institutions and community groups for academic and spiritual environments and has provided a unique setting for small, intimate wedding ceremonies. The Castle is located on highway A1A three miles north of St. Augustine, Florida. The project was begun on May 1, 1984 and sense of completeness was felt about the concrete portion of the sculpture (exterior) in the summer of 1988. The materials used in the exterior are split-face concrete block, steel reinforcement rod, and poured concrete. All of the masonry work was done by two individuals working together without the aid of laborers, helpers, elevation drawings, or models... "The building seemed to exert its own insistent will." Engineering data was employed to ensure structural integrity. It is over 50 feet in height, and the weight of the building is conservatively estimated at more than 7 million pounds. The building was never intended to be a residence, a commercial building, nor a tourist attraction. It was created as an expression of art. The interior took an additional 3 years to complete (1988-1991). It was fashioned by a third individual (a woodworker). It contains primarily cypress wood and some old southern heart-pine. The interior has eight different examples of staircases in addition to an altar, a pulpit, a Bishop's chair, a choir loft, benches or pews; and incorporates spiritual and historic related symbolism throughout. There is no glass in any of the 88 window openings; therefore, the interior is open to the elements. It is interesting to note that this structure is located on the same latitude as the Great Pyramids in Egypt (30° North Latitude). The building also received an award from The American Institute of Architects in 1992 for “the creation of a new landmark” in the United States. The Castle is privately owned. The Castle has no formal connection with any group or organization. The castle is available, upon request, for prayer, meditation, or quiet reflection on Sunday mornings. No tours are conducted on Sundays. All are welcome regardless of belief, culture, ethnicity or orientation. Please, be dignified and respectful. (Sorry, no children under age 9, nor those with behavorial disorders permitted due to insurance regulations.) NOTE: The castle does NOT have handicap access. Please call the phone number listed for appointments.
Found it but no walk in visitors.
Growing up an hour south of castle otttis, I visited many times throughout my life and even attended 2 beautiful weddings held there. The place is incredible and even has an incredible origin story; the website seems to have removed the story. It use to be open one weekend a month to the public. If you're lucky enough to arrive while the gates are open, the owner will usually allow you to explore regardless of time or day; he has never once turned me away nor have I encountered a closed gate. The castle and the owner really are a treasure to Florida's history.
Gate was locked. Couldn't get close enough to see
I have been curious about this thing since moving to Florida 17 years ago. I have to call and make an appointment to take the tour.
It looked awesome, but it is away from the road and blocked by trees so you can't get close enough to really see much. Drive by.
Much smaller than expected. You can only drive by it.
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Not Wheelchair Accessible