Earlier this year, driving down a relatively desolate stretch of A1A north of Vilano Beach, I beheld a most unlikely visage: a huge faux-Irish castle in the middle of nowhere.
Even after doing a little research, I still can't quite wrap my head around how and why this place came to be. Like other great castle-creating obsessives such as Kentucky's Rex Martin and Florida's own Edward Leedskalnin, the man behind this structure (Ottis Sadler) pretty much just thought it up and did it. Apparently he didn't even file a building permit when he started, and it's officially designated a "garage" because the county property appraiser didn’t know what else to call it. The primary work was done by just two people all by themselves, which is a rather amazing feat.
The castle's website doesn't exactly shed much light on it all. One page says the castle was "Done in Remembrance of Jesus Christ" (a sentiment echoed by a sign outside the building) but another of its pages says "It was created as an expression of art" and then goes on to say, in all caps, "CASTLE OTTTIS WAS CREATED TO DESIGNATE A PLACE OF PEACE UPON THIS EARTH."
The website also gives some rather puzzling factoids, such as:
"The project was begun on May 1, 1984 and sense of completeness was felt about the concrete portion of the sculpture (exterior) in the summer of 1988."
"The weight of the building is conservatively estimated at more than 7 million pounds."
"It is interesting to note that this structure is located on the same latitude as the Great Pyramids in Egypt (30° North Latitude)."
The website doesn't explain why "Ottis" is spelled with three Ts, but numerous online sources have stated that locals believe it to be because each T represents one of the three who were crucified at Calvary.