Having a medieval-style castle in America is actually not that unusual. But until now, one hasn’t been built stateside as it would have been during the days of serfdom and poor standards of hygiene.
That’s changed with the opening of Ozark Medieval Fortress, a castle being erected in the pinewoods of Arkansas as if it were the early 13th century rather than the early 21st. Local people, dressed in wimples, are and will be breaking rocks by hand and hauling them into place by horsepower for the next 20 years. Construction began in June 2009 and isn’t expected to end until 2030. This means that visitors over the next few years won’t have a lot to see, but the attraction makes up for it with demonstrations of weaving, cooking, basket-making, and of course breaking rocks.
Other long-term construction project-attractions are also underway, elsewhere in America. But unlike Bishop Castle (which must be built solely by Jim Bishop) and the Palace of Depression (which would be rebuilt quicker if it had the money), the Ozark Medieval Fortress is deliberately wed to its decades-long timeline. No influx of Amish barn-raisers or Habitat For Humanity do-gooders will make it go up any faster. In fact, they’d probably slow it down, since every new worker has to be instructed by word-of-mouth (The 13th century was, you know, illiterate). They’re practically hoping for a plague to make things more interesting.
For now, visitors can mostly expect to see a bunch of sweaty people moving heavy objects very slowly. But give it time. Maybe, in a decade or so, tourists will be allowed to test the castle’s construction by storming its 45-foot-high towers, or hurling rocks at its six-foot-thick walls. We hope.
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