Friday, August 18, 2006

Valley Oddities

In which we explore the strange, the peculiar & the slightly off-kilter

Hortense Castle
Who has not, at one time or another, wanted to live in a castle? As a people, Americans are unused to castles, which could explain their allure. Every miniature golf course has one, as do the numerous municipal “fairy tale town” parks. There are castles—or, rather, castle-esque houses—all up and down the California coast, from Pacifica to San Diego. There’s even one alongside Interstate-80 in Sacramento, with a canon on the front lawn, just in case.

The castle on Hortense St., however, stands out, unique in that it’s the only castle conversion of its scope that I have seen on a suburban lot. Not satisfied with the usual mission revival hacienda common to the ‘hood, the residents of this abode set out to create a space nobler still.

I have to admit, I love the turret. Perhaps Gandalf is inside mixing the elements for his magic fireworks. I am a little concerned about what goes on in the tower, though. With the TV aerial on top, I am afraid that the Dark Lord, Sauron, has become a couch potato.

Well, Hearst had a castle. Why can't Hortense have one?


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