Ozark Medieval Fortress – Lead Hill, Arkansas - Atlas Obscura

Ozark Medieval Fortress

Lead Hill, Arkansas

Twenty-year effort to raise a castle using tools and techniques from the 13th century is now abandoned in the Arkansas woods. 


Update: Unfortunately, this place is permanently closed as of 2016, though the abandoned remains of the castle are still there. 

In what would appear to be the most unlikely place to find a European fortress, travelers in rural Arkansas will one day soon come upon an authentic stone castle rising on an Ozark mountainside.

The dream of an amateur archeologist with a passion for castle restoration named Michel Guylot, the Ozark Medieval Fortress opened to the public in May of 2010.

Being constructed on land donated by Solange and Jean-Marc Mirat, the castle is the work site of a full-time dedicated team of 30 artisans supplemented with occasional volunteer help. Adhering to the techniques and tools of 13th century European castle builders, the project is not expected to see completion until 2030 - twenty years of labor and love.

Visitors are invited onto the site to observe and ask questions of the artisans as they go about their work. Rock is quarried, wood cut, and materials such as rope and caulk for the stones are all drawn from the natural resources available on site and great care is exercised to ensure that everything is completed in as an authentic manner as possible.

Standing at the site you hear chisels working stone, hammers and axes molding wood, and the sounds of the animals and men engaged in construction, but missing will be the sounds of modern technology.

The castle will eventually have towers rising 70 feet in height, a drawbridge and six foot thick walls surrounding an interior courtyard. The site will serve as an open-air laboratory to relearn the methods by which our ancestors erected the great buildings of the past and shed light on “green” construction methods that might be incorporated elsewhere.

Know Before You Go

Located in the Ozark Mountains near Branson, Missouri.

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September 28, 2010

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