Castle Otttis (yes, three ‘t’s) was built by Ottis Sadler and Rusty Ickes between 1984 and 1988. Based on Irish castles from 1,000 years ago, it was designed to be a landscape sculpture, open to the elements and rising up more than 50 feet.
When Sadler and Ickes began work on the castle, it was never intended to be a residence or a business. Their ultimate aim was to create a work of art, one that would invoke the spirit of an old Irish abbey or Christian church.
The two men took care of all the masonry themselves with no additional paid labor. And once they had built the walls high enough to be noticed with ease, they were told they needed a construction permit. Due to a clerical error, the building was accidentally officially designated as a garage, albeit a garage built of split-face concrete blocks, reinforced steel rods and poured concrete weighing an estimated 7 million pounds. With ramparts. And 88 window openings, left without glass to allow the elements into the castle. In other words, not your average garage.
Once they had completed the main structure of the castle, work began on the interior. This was handled by one man, Lee Carpenter, who took three years to complete all the interior woodwork, mainly working with cypress wood and some old southern heart-pine. Between 1988 and 1991, Carpenter built eight elaborate staircases, an altar, a pulpit, a series of pews, a choir loft and a bishop’s chair.
The final result: a majestic stone castle built as an expression of artistic and spiritual devotion. And, of, course, an impressive new landmark along the St. Augustine shoreline, one officially recognized by the American Institute of Architects in 1992.