A ‘fantasy come true’ and a castle prove it

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Ask Smith Treuer why he decided to build a castle overlooking Table Rock Lake, the White River and Leatherwood Creek near Beaver, and you are likely to get a several different answers. One, he started building sand castles as a kid, and it grew from there. Two, it was a way to keep his kids, Fatima Van Zant and Latigo Treuer, busy and productive while growing up as the two were his main assistants in building the sprawling castle complex.

“I was able to volunteer them until they became college age,” Treuer said. “Then they were ready to finish being volunteered.”

Since both kids as adults have been involved in doing construction projects themselves, it turned out to be a great training.

But the bottom line answer to why Treuer built a castle is that it is the fulfillment of an architectural vision of a castle in the Ozarks inspired by the site being on a high bluff that plays into the fantasy of a castle compound.

A posting in www.onlyinyourstate.com says, “Northwest Arkansas is a fairy tale location, and the wonder of the area is largely hidden from the rest of America. The enchantment of it all even includes a breathtaking castle that looks as if it appeared straight from of the pages of a storybook. Designed and built over the course of two decades by creative world traveler Smith Treuer, Castle Rogue’s Manor is a fantasy come true in the Natural State.”

Treuer, who also owns Rogue’s Manor at Sweet Spring in Eureka Springs, said he built the castle complex to be enjoyed and used for all types of functions such weddings, reunions, church gatherings, business meetings and charity fundraising activities.

“That’s the function which prevents this architectural vision from being an architectural folly,” Treuer said. “An architectural folly is a building with no purpose, whereas this castle vision does have a purpose. I grew up as a kid playing in the sand box building sand castles and lived around construction all of my life. This was an opportunity to realize an architectural dream.”

The castle complex, which can be toured by appointment only, contains two guard towers, a garden shed, garage, barn, the Gatekeeper’s Cottage and the Great Hall. Treuer said each building has a function. He isn’t sure how many square feet there are in the complex, but there are seven octagonal towers.

Fall is a particularly fine time to visit the Castle Rogue’s Manor. Treuer has planted a number of autumn blaze maple trees on the grounds, and there are fall colors and beautiful views of the water, the Little Golden Gate Bridge, and the old railroad trestle below.

One of the outstanding features of the Great Hall is a fireplace that is 8 ft.x5 ft.x4 ft. The mantle is a 10,000-lb. stone from Hackett, and is large enough that musicians can stand on top to entertain. The mantle is graced with an eight-ft. bronze sculpture by Mel Shipley of dragons designed so that heat from the fireplace comes out of the dragons’ mouths.

There are also works throughout the castle by other top area artists such as Larry Mansker, who has a number of paintings in the complex. Unique chairs used for banquets in the Grand Hall were built by Robert Norman from local wood.

“It took the help of many local craftsmen and tradesman to make this project possible,” Treuer said. “Many different talents attracted to the vision helped accomplish it.”

A lot of what they did was inspired by the site and native materials available. For example, they used a lot of walnut and cedar timbers in framing the buildings.

“I was able to salvage redwood burls from the Northwest that had been cut down more than 100 years ago and left because they didn’t have value to be cut up into timber,” Treuer said. “But they worked great for the rustic furniture built here.”

The project started in the mid-1990s. They worked on the Gatekeeper’s Cottage for seven years and then another seven years on the Great Hall. At times they would get tired of the project and get stalled, only to get fired up again later. The complex continues to be a work in progress. All areas used for public gatherings are finished, but other areas remain incomplete.

The buildings aren’t based on any historical castle. They are not a copy of an historical castle or an effort to reflect a certain period of history.

“I pretty much just created this from the influence of travels and books,” Treuer said. “But we used modern tools and material as well as lot of the timber in the area.”

Buildings are designed so the major areas don’t have to be heated and cooled all the time, just for events.

The Castle piques a lot of curiosity from people who see it from the lake, the sky or driving by,” Treuer said.

For more information, see www.castleroguesmanoratbeaver.com/ or call (479) 981-6816.

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