Lacey's Castle, a father's tribute – Shelby Ravellette

Lacey’s Castle – Shelby Ravellette

Omaha, AR
Environment with rocks

In the Arkansas Ozark Mountains, stone mason Shelby Ravellette spends much of his time laying rocks. Some are small, some need a front-loader to move.  Many have unique characteristics, and get named.

He is building the Lacey Michele Castle to honor the memory of his daughter.

Initially, Shelby didn’t realize that he was a father. One day, he ran into the mother of an old girlfriend who was carrying a toddler with flowing red hair.  It was then he learned of Lacey, and immediately taking complete financial care of his daughter.

One night, Lacey was taken to the hospital for flu-like symptoms, and given a normally safe drug to ease those symptoms. Within hours it was apparent that she was having a toxic reaction.  Lacey died in 1987 at the age of 7.

Six months later, Lacey Michele, visited him in a dream to remind him of his promise to build a castle for her. He bought that property in 1988. He survived the first winter in what he calls a shack, and then set about building a castle. Shelby, who is a master stonemason, a Freemason, and Templar Knight, has been at it for nearly twenty years, and he says he’s got twenty more years of work before he’s finished.

“It’s all for Lacey,” he said.

At the front of the building is an extra-thick chimney for a large fireplace that will generate heat. The walls are two-feet thick as he guides a visitor through the structure. Standing atop one turret (which he noted is exactly one bottle rocket flight from the other turret, giving you a hint to his playful personality), he proudly shows the brilliant view of wildlife, and pet cow. Yes, pet cow…when she was a neglected calf, Shelby rescued her and brought her into his home to care for her.  Shelby swears she is house-broken!

Shelby has learned about conservation of resources in school, so he uses water captured in large containers to water flower and vegetable gardens. His knowledge of water preservation has caught the attention of the locals, and now, he said that when he dies the entire property is to be turned over to become a park of sorts, dedicated to natural, soil and water conservation and wildlife preservation.

“It will revert to a charity foundation for Lacey Michelle,” he said.

Walking along the walls of the castle, Ravellette points out various highlights of construction, making mental notes of things to get accomplished that day.

Be aware that the road to the castle might be tricky in wet weather, and a higher clearance vehicle would be wise on the narrow dirt road.

You can also spend the night at the castle, as it there is a fully furnished apartment for weekend rental.

You can also catch Shelby and Lacey’s Castle in the film “God’s Architects”

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(Photos © Copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)

Bibliography & Links:

God’s Architects