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10 castle homes fit for royalty

While multi-million dollar mansions may be considered modern castles, some homeowners take that concept rather literally.

The U.S. has a surprisingly large number of castle homes fit for a king, coming complete with towers, turrets, courtyards and keeps. Although these modern versions would not likely be very helpful for defense, they may be every bit as expensive to build and maintain.

Piermont, N.Y.

This 15,000-square-foot castle just outside New York was built in 1892 and is currently on the market for $5.5 million. Any buyer must value antiquities over modern practicalities, including a wood-burning stove and walk-in ice box. The 19-acre property also features a Victorian carriage house and second small cottage.

The ivy climbing the sides of the home was originally a gift from the owner’s friend, who clipped and transported plants from the grave sites of Sir Walter Raleigh and Ludwig Beethoven. 

Southlake, Texas

Set on 1.6 acres in North Texas, this eight-bedroom, 10,819-square-foot estate sold this May for $4.2 million. Despite its medieval features, it was newly constructed in 2010 to include a home movie theater, tennis court, wine cellar, multiple hot tubs and a large grotto swimming pool with direct views into the home.

Narragansett, R.I.

Joseph Peace Hazard, a member of one of the first families to settle in Rhode Island, began construction on this Gothic Revival structure in 1846, apparently to keep a close watch on his neighbors. Its 105-foot watchtower may not be particularly useful, but it does provide an unparalleled view of the water and 34-acre property.

The manor itself is 10,000 square feet and has 15 bedrooms and five full bathrooms. The adjoining retreat center is 21,000 square feet, with more than 50 rooms and a full dining hall. Hazard Castle sold in April 2012 for $2.6 million after previously having served as the home of Our Lady of Peace Spiritual Center.

Saint Helena, Calif.

This four-bedroom California castle boasts a two-story library and an outdoor pizza oven. The 47-acre property was purchased for $1.25 million in 1999, and the 8,261-square-foot home was built in 2003. Other features include a conservatory, wine cellar, guest house, detached garage, vegetable and rose gardens, an olive grove, and solar energy.

Johnson City, Tenn.

Crantzdorf Castle, built in 1998, is modeled after the 18th century Palacio de la Magdalena in the Spanish port city of Santander. The home cost more than $17 million to construct and 10 years to assemble. It features 22-foot-tall entry doors that were transplanted from a Parisian music conservatory, staircases made of Italian marble, custom moldings built by Greek craftsmen and a reconstructed English pub.

Despite having these and other uncommon elements, such as a heated and cooled 14-car garage, a race track modeled after Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway, home theater, boat ramp, four jet ski lifts and an interior basketball court, the estate is currently on the market for just $4.3 million. 

Palm Beach, Fla.

Combining old Spanish Tudor style with modern custom hurricane impact doors and windows, El Castillo Castle is a unique property that feels right at home in Palm Beach.

The 11,032-square-foot estate’s most prominent feature is its five-story tower, which provides views of the lake and ocean from a rooftop observation deck, complete with a full bar. It is on the market for $26.4 million. 

Oak Brook, Ill.

This relatively modest five-bedroom stone castle in Oak Brook, Ill., sits on less than an acre of land and features an attached garage, 12 skylights, three fireplaces and an elevator. In 2011 it was listed for $4.75 million, but after a failed price adjustment it was taken off the market in May of this year.

Fort Washington, Pa.

This estate sits on a 70-acre property, which has a 40,000-square-foot main home divided into three wings and three additional buildings, including a play house, pool house and caretaker apartment. It also features indoor and outdoor tennis courts and a 4,000-bottle wine cellar. The home is currently listed for sale at $13.95 million.

Sandpoint, Idaho

Most castle homes can't claim to be both a luxury palace and a fortress, but this one in Sandpoint, Idaho, can. The walls are reinforced with steel, making it strong, waterproof and draft-free. The 4,200-square-foot home, which was built in 1999, has four bedrooms and four baths, hand-crafted stained glass windows and an indoor pool.

Warrenton, Va.

Built in 1857 by the husband of a shipping heiress and sitting on 50 acres, Melrose Castle served at different times as a Confederate hospital and a Union encampment. Due to a recent foreclosure, it is now on the market for just $1.4 million.

The 9,002-square-foot main house has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two partial baths and hardwood flooring throughout. Outside, the property features a horse barn with two paddocks, riding arena, pool and tennis court.

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