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Rural Missouri Magazine

Show-Me Castles
More castles around in Missouri

by Jennifer Kettler
The Misir family, Nancy, Naresh and daughter Nadia Tenorio, pose on the lawn of Stuart Castle near Eureka.  

Stuart Castle — Eureka

Originally built by Dr.Wallace Stuart and his son Wallace Stuart II in the 1960s Stuart castle may be Eureka's best-kept secret.

For nearly a decade Stuart's family of eight lived in a construction zone while he and his son cut and laid granite stone for the massive palace. Stuart lived in the castle until the late 70's. His wife, Joan stayed through the early 80's before abandoning the building.

The current owner, Naresh Misir, bought the castle from Stuart in 1996, after it had been vacant for 20 years. It was heavily vandalized but from the moment he saw it he just knew he had to have it.

Naresh Misir is greeted by his cat as he pushes open a secret passageway in the library of Stuart Castle. The swinging bookcase leads to the basement where you can travel to the opposite end of the castle .
"I always saw the finished product. I didn’t see the damage, I only saw the possibility,” he says.

Naresh spent five years renovating and remodeling the interior with his wife, Nancy, and stepdaughter Nadia. Peepholes, secret passageways, and polished granite floors are some of the castle's unique interior characteristics. With a massive game room, five-room master suite, Jacuzzi, three sun porches, nine fireplaces, and a five-car garage there’s no doubt that this home is fit for a king.

The library, Naresh's favorite room, has a bookcase that opens to reveal a set of stairs to the basement. The fireplace in the master bedroom is constructed of fossils, petrified wood and handpicked semi-precious stones from around the world.

When asked if the family feels like royalty Nancy laughs and says, "No, more like a servant. It's a full time job to rehab it." With over 11,000 square feet of living space it's too big for the family of three.

Stuart castle is currently for sale for "around $2 million." Prospective buyers can contact Donna Giamalva with Prudential Realty at 314-973-4519.

 Ironton

Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon and the hunt, keeps a watch over the granite
castle in Ironton.

Arcadia Valley not only boasts beautiful hills, but a colossal castle in Ironton as well.

An English doctor named Thomas Goulding built the three-story tower structure with eleven -rooms in 1903. He wanted to use it as a hospital but instead the area surrounding the castle became a park.

The foot-thick granite walls keep the new owners Larry and Sheila Misselhorn at peace in their quiet palace. They say they can’t even here when a dump truck is in their front yard.

When Larry’s not working on adding unique characteristics to the castle he’s meeting Hollywood stars and constructing movie sets. Many pieces of furniture in the castle are from past movie projects. His dining room table and a living room rug stained with Tom Hanks' fake blood is from the gangster film "Road to Perdition."

Larry never imagined he would live in a castle or work on movie sets. “He’s just a hard working guy,” says Sheila, “and this is just our home.”

Pythian Castle — Springfield

Dancer and circus perfomer Tamara Finocchiaro practices a routine in the theater of Pythian Castle. Finocchiaro, the owner of the castle, offers a wide variety of entertainment at Pythian Castle..

Entrepreneurs from Los Angeles, Calif., have come to Springfield to bring life to that city’s Pythian Castle. Tamara Finocchiaro and her mother, M.J. Page, live in the castle while they renovate and manage the multipurpose facility that’s open to the public for the first time in 90 years.

With a ballroom, theater, basement gym and grand foyer, the 40,000-square-foot castle can easily accomodate private parties, weddings, and even ghost hunters. The supposedly haunted castle was built in 1914 by a fraternal organization the Knights of Pythias who originally used it as an orphanage and women’s home. Later the U.S. Army occupied it for nearly 40 years before it went through private owners.

Springfield's Pythian Castle is open to the public for the first time in 90 years.

Now, Tamara and M.J. are creating a place where people can experience the happy moments of their lives. They offer dance lessons, martial arts, murder mystery theater, and even circus arts parties for children. By 2006 they hope to finish renovations to open suites for a bed and breakfast.

Tamara, a professional swing dancer, says, “I want people to come have fun, and help us make some history in this facility.”

To tour the castle or participate in activities call Tamara at 417-865-1464; email tamara@pythiancastle.com; or visit the Web site www.pythiancastle.com.

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