Get in Touch
Thanks for contacting us! We'll respond as soon as possible.
 
 

Suggested Articles

 
 
 
Subscribe Pin with Us
4 Unbelievable Facts About This Impressive Castle in Arizona

#1 Would you believe us if we told you this castle was built by a dentist?

Flickr User Colin Firth

Flickr User Colin Firth

As strange as it sounds, it’s true! Clearly, Dr. Mort Copenhaver wasn’t your average run-of-the-mill dentist, though. Ever since seeing a castle in a movie as a child, he became fascinated with the idea of living in one himself.  Dr. Copenhaver was clearly not the type to let his dreams just be dreams, and so he set out to teach himself how to stonecut. Building the castle was a huge endeavor — what ended up being a more than ten year project — but by the end of the 1970’s, his castle was complete. Located on 5050 E. Red Rock Road, in Phoenix, Arizona, the castle occupies the south side of Camelback Mountain. Copenhaver Castle is known for being the highest and most impregnable home in Phoenix.

#2 Did we mention that dentist built this castle by hand?

14151-presscdn-0-43.pagely.netdna-cdn.com

14151-presscdn-0-43.pagely.netdna-cdn.com

For whatever reason — sheer stubbornness, lack of funds, who can speculate? — Dr. Copenhaver chose not to use any machinery when he built his famous castle. He purchased a separate parcel of land on Camelback Mountain to use as a source for the stones he needed to build his castle. He blasted rock free from the nearly vertical chunk of cliffside, and since he wasn’t using any machinery, he had to cut each block down until they were small enough that he could carry them. This must have been quite a tedious process, because once he had moved them to the location where he was building the castle, he simply cemented the rocks back together again. He reportedly used around 50,000 bags of cement! Dr. Copenhaver had very little assistance with his gargantuan project. He traded dental services for construction work, rather than paying his few helpers. He also made donations to missions in Mexico after some Hispanic missionaries helped him out. He dedicated so much of his time to building that he had lost a wife and two girlfriends by the time it was finished.

#3 Dr. Copenhaver built the castle to resemble Moorish architecture.

steelcactus.com

steelcactus.com

Following the traditions of 8th century Europe, Copenhaver built his castle high on a mountain, so it would be easy to defend from attacks. Not only this, but he also had a phenomenal viewpoint. The structure is eight levels high, but even more impressive are the walls, cut from granite and an incredible eighteen inches thick. All eight levels total up to around 7,000 square feet. The twenty rooms include five bedrooms, seven and a half bathrooms, a servants quarters, a billiards room, and a dungeon with a bar. At least half of the rooms have balconies, there are three garages, and you’ll even find a helicopter pad on the roof. To complete the castle look, there are crenelated towers and walls, and the structure is surrounded by a moat and access is granted via a drawbridge. One of the coolest rooms in the house is arguably the living room, which features a seventeen foot tall waterfall above the fireplace, a sauna, and a twenty person whirlpool spa. Above the spa, a retractable roof makes it easy to enjoy some sunshine during the day, or marvel at the stars at night. Oh, and did we mention there are secret passages throughout the castle?!

#4 You’ll probably hear the castle referred to as Camelback Castle these days.

c2.staticflickr.com

c2.staticflickr.com

Even today, the structure stands gracefully on the side of the mountain. Having been built from local materials, it is perfectly in harmony with it’s environment. Historians suspect that the castle will endure time well, and will stand for many, many more years. Unfortunately, Dr. Copenhaver was forced to sell the product of his hard work. In 1985, he set the selling price for the castle at seven million dollars. Sadly, he refused an offer for five and a half million dollars, only to ultimately lower the price of the castle to two and a half million dollars by 1987. Since he had used the castle as collateral for loans and he was unable to pay on them or sell the castle, the Chase Bank of Arizona eventually foreclosed on the building. They sold it for the unbelievable price of $985,000 to Jerry Mitchell who knew Dr. Copenhaver well and had even attended parties at the castle. Mitchell reportedly redecorated the castle to fit a western cowboy and Native American theme. Many people hope that the castle will be opened for tours, but it is unclear what the new owner’s plans are for this beautiful, timeless castle.

Cheyenne Reed

Cheyenne Reed was born and raised in Ohio. She recently relocated to rural Wyoming to try out working at an exclusive guest ranch. She graduated from Kent State University with an English degree, and most enjoys writing about travel. If she has free time, you may run into her anywhere, because she is always itching to explore new places. Her personal motto is, "Any day can be an adventure if you make it one!"

You May Also Like

5 Awesome Things To Do In Santa Fe, New Mexico During Thanksgiving Weekend
5 Awesome Things To Do In Santa Fe, New Mexico During Thanksgiving Weekend

Arguably the best city in New Mexico to celebrate Thanksgiving is Santa Fe. It has everything from fine dining, relaxing spas and resorts, skiing in the mountains, to amazing shows. If you’re wondering what to do this Thanksgiving weekend, maybe you should head on up to Santa Fe. Here are 5 reasons why this is

John GhostJohn GhostNov 22, 2016
7 of the Best Places to Spot a Ghost in New Mexico
7 of the Best Places to Spot a Ghost in New Mexico

How fun is ghost hunting? Extremely fun! One of the best ways to face your mortality is by encountering ghosts who haven’t move on. They will remind you that no one lives forever, although, anyone has the potential to haunt forever. With the Halloween season among us, what better way to celebrate than to experience the

John GhostJohn GhostOct 24, 2016
These 8 New Mexico Urban Legends Are As Scary As Hell!
These 8 New Mexico Urban Legends Are As Scary As Hell!

Every state, city, town, neighborhood, school, or even workplace has their share of urban legends. These are 8 urban legends of New Mexico that are super scary as all hell! 1. La Llorona The famous legend of La Llorona (The Crying Woman), has been told and retold in many ways over the years. La Llorona

John GhostJohn GhostOct 22, 2016
6 Things To Do On Halloween Weekend In New Mexico For Less Than 10 Dollars
6 Things To Do On Halloween Weekend In New Mexico For Less Than 10 Dollars

Halloween is a special time of year. It is a holiday that doesn’t exclude anyone. Regardless of age, gender, race, creed, financial status etc, Halloween is fun for everyone. There are a lot of things to do in New Mexico this Halloween. Here is a list of 6 things you can do for less than

John GhostJohn GhostOct 22, 2016
6 Halloween Events and Activities for Adults in New Mexico
6 Halloween Events and Activities for Adults in New Mexico

As the days grow shorter and nights longer, the season of the witch is among us. Halloween is an amazing time of year for children to embrace their creative sides and trick-or-treat for candy. Families have events every weekend to celebrate the harvest. But it’s not just for the kids and the families. Halloween doesn’t exclude

John GhostJohn GhostOct 22, 2016
The 10 Best Halloween Corn Mazes In Arizona
The 10 Best Halloween Corn Mazes In Arizona

With Halloween a little over a week away and only two weekends for family adventures, time is at hand to get out and celebrate the cooler temperatures of the season. These 10 corn mazes are perfect Halloween fun for the the whole family and a great way to get some exercise. 1. Schnepf Farms Pumpkin

John GhostJohn GhostOct 22, 2016
The Absolute Best Pumpkin Patch In New Mexico to Find Your Perfect Pumpkin Match
The Absolute Best Pumpkin Patch In New Mexico to Find Your Perfect Pumpkin Match

Halloween is upon us with just a little over one week to go. Now is the best time to hit up the pumpkin patches to pick out your perfect gourd. A lot of the pumpkin patches have other activities and fun things to buy. You could buy your pumpkin at the grocery store, but where

John GhostJohn GhostOct 22, 2016
7 of the Best Halloween Events in New Mexico for the Whole Family
7 of the Best Halloween Events in New Mexico for the Whole Family

Halloween is a month-long holiday as far as I’m concerned (actually it’s more like a year-round thing with me), which brings me much pleasure. Not only do I enjoy the magic of the season but so do many children. They have October 31st to go out with friends and family trick-or-treating for candy. But There

John GhostJohn GhostOct 19, 2016
These 7 Star Trails Photographed Over New Mexico Will Mesmerize You
These 7 Star Trails Photographed Over New Mexico Will Mesmerize You

Night photography has produced some of my favorite photos. They are simply beautiful, especially star trails. And what better state is there than New Mexico for such photos? These 7 star trail photos are sure to mesmerize and captivate you. 1. Farmington Lake The clouds were out this night but thin enough for the beautiful

John GhostJohn GhostOct 17, 2016