This Mediterranean castle was built for a millionaire and his giant dog.
The Villa Katherine is a jumble of Mediterranean architectural styles built by an eccentric millionaire for him and his dog.
Born in 1849, W. George Metz was the son of a wealthy Quincy pharmacist. After the deaths of his parents Metz embarked on a two-year world tour. Impressed by Mediterranean architecture, he designed a home inspired by the Villa ben Ahben in Morocco based on photos of the building and others of the same style. The eccentric structure included other Mediterranean flourishes such as a reflecting pool with an elaborate mosaic at its bottom which takes up the large central courtyard, and a minaret which is an exact replica of one he had seen on a Tunisian mosque. Metz lived virtually alone in the large estate with only his massive mastiff, “Bingo.”
After the death of his beloved pet, who at one point was in the running for the world’s largest dog, Metz sold the mansion, which subsequently went through many owners before finally falling into disrepair. A group calling themselves “The Friends of The Castle” acquired the home in 1978 and lovingly restored it to its original condition. Though the bluff has a great view of the wide Mississippi River, the house has few windows, in keeping with the Moorish style. While the building is now open for tours and private events, visitors should beware as the house is rumored to be haunted by Bingo’s ghost.
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