Fairhope’s Sheldon Castle and Mosher Castle

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The Sheldon and Mosher Castles are two neighboring houses located in Fairhope, Alabama. They signify the iconoclastic worldview that gave birth to the community in 1894.

The Sheldon Castle was built first, in 1946 by Craig Sheldon. According to a family member, it was built from stone from nearby Mobile Bay hand quarried and transported to the site. Contrary to the modern house styles which prevailed in the 1940s, it might be characterized as a whimsical version of medieval-revival, hence the appellation “castle.”

The Mosher Castle was built more recently by Dean Mosher (note the Mrs. Butterworth bottle embedded in the stonework).

These buildings are classic examples of bricolage and might have been used as illustrations in Levi-Strauss’ Savage Mind.

Mosher states:

Both the exterior and the interior are largely made of local materials. The stone facing is indigenous to the area, as is the underlying wall tile. Even interior trim is from trees felled on the site. In amongst the stones are pieces of glass and pottery as well as objects from around the world, including the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall.

Fairhope was founded as a single tax colony in order to:

to establish and conduct a model community or colony, free from all forms of private monopoly, and to secure to its members therein equality of opportunity, the full reward of individual efforts, and the benefits of co-operation in matters of general concern.

Fairhope’s School for Organic Education was acclaimed by famed educator John Dewey. The colony has attracted prominent creators such as Sherwood Anderson, Wharton Esherick, Carl Zigrosser, and Upton Sinclair.

The Sheldon and Mosher Castles, built side-by-side, express the Colony’s ethos of cooperative individualism.

 

 Sheldon Castle


Sheldon Castle

 

 Sheldon Castle


Sheldon Castle

 

 Mosher Castle


Mosher Castle

 

 Mosher Castle


Mosher Castle

 

Mosher Castle


Mosher Castle

 

 Mosher Castle


Mosher Castle

 

Sources Cited:  

Sheldon Castle – Fairhope Alabama http://travelinknowledge.blogspot.com/2013/03/sheldon-castle-fairhope-alabama.html

Mosher Castle http://www.deanmosher.com/castle.html

Fairhope http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairhope,_Alabama#History

 

© Donald E. Armstrong and Material Practices, 2013

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