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Quigley's Castle: Fun and Historic Attraction in Eureka Springs, AR

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Quigley's Castle in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. NRHP listed.

Quigley's Castle in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. NRHP listed.

Arkansas Attractions

My mother and I decided to vacation in Arkansas in September of 1995. Some of the highlights were seeing Hot Springs National Park and Eureka Springs, among other sites. When we saw the sign about Quigley's Castle, "The Ozark's Strangest Dwelling," we were intrigued and decided to take a look.

I seriously doubt that many collectors of rocks, seashells, fossils, arrowheads, minerals, and more have amassed the vast collection that Elise Quigley put into her home and surrounding acreage. She started her rock collection when she was a child, and it continued to grow until she had a virtual mountain of rocks and other treasures.

Outdoor decor

Outdoor decor

Background

A brochure that we had picked up written by Conaly Bedell (Tulsa World Correspondent, 1964) had this title and subtitle: "We're Going to Tear Down the House," followed by Wife "Rocked" Husband Into "Castle." The story is a fascinating one, to be sure! Tearing down a house did take place! Here is some background information about how that came to be.

When Albert Quigley and Elise Fioravanti married, they moved to property owned by Albert's family, consisting of a large 80-acre farm with a lumber mill. The timing of this was during the Great Depression. Albert built a temporary three-room shack where they lived, promising her a grander-styled home as soon as they could afford it. Time passed, and they had five children. They also had a chicken house on the property.

One day Elise took things into her own hands, and with the help of her children, after Albert had gone off to work, they dismantled the house and moved belongings into the chicken shack. Imagine the shock for Albert when he returned home that day! There was little else to do now but to begin construction on that new home he had promised for many years.

Jarred collection of butterflies

Jarred collection of butterflies

The Building Project Begins

Mrs. Quigley had been dreaming about a new house for her family for many years. She loved nature and wished to incorporate it inside her home, plus be surrounded by nature's glory outdoors. She also wanted to use all of the many collections she had gathered over the years. This structure would be no ordinary house!

She made a model of what she envisioned using cardboard, match sticks, and the like. Many large windows were a part of her design. The added light from the windows would enable the planting of trees and other plants inside the dwelling.

Into four feet of earth, those plants are now many decades old. Many of them reach the second-story ceiling, forming a natural curtain of sorts between the outdoor frame of the home and inside the structure.

One problem was that the purchase of glass was almost impossible during the war, so it took three years before securing it for the windows. To keep warm during cold spells, they had to improvise. The layering of cloth and other materials kept out some of the cold.

Most of the lumber came from their land, and their labor was free. According to reports, only $2,000 went for supplies, including the glass.

Once the two-story exterior lumber facade was complete, Elise's work began in cladding the outside with her mountainous collection of rocks, crystals, and other treasures. Her work did not end there! Inside of the Quigley Castle, as well as outside, her work in fashioning eye-catching structures continued.

Treasures

Mrs. Quigley's granddaughter who now owns and operates Quigley's Castle was there to host us during our visit. The granddaughter was most engaging and happy to point out the many embellishments inside of the home. She freely admitted to us that her grandmother "marched to the tune of a different drummer." Most artistic people and innovators often march to their own tune.

Also on site was the granddaughter's little pre-school age child, Gabby. Gabby's older sister was in school, and she happily escorted my mother and me through some of the pathways in the garden. She was the tiniest and cutest tour guide we have ever had.

We were amazed to see Elise's collections incorporated into the different designs of items throughout the house and outside. Her concrete embedded items showcasing shells, rocks, marbles, and other elements included hanging planters, a birdcage, mailbox, birdbaths, and more.

Framed collections of arrowheads hung on walls where quilts and other treasures were also on display. Antique furniture was a part of the mixture of home furnishings. Incorporated into the home was also a fishpond!

Elise had fashioned a bird and butterfly collage out of photos plus real butterflies and moths collected from her garden. That collage made a dramatic and eye-catching backdrop for one of the bedrooms upstairs. One could almost imagine those butterflies alighting upon that scene from the nearby plants. To say that her design was eclectic is an understatement!

Quigley's Castle

It took decades of work on Mrs. Quigley's part to complete her project. Word spread about her unique creation and the perennial gardens outside, and people wished to see it. She finally started charging folks, and according to the brochure I picked up, she took in $75 the first year.

By now, countless people have come to view her dream home and have presumably come away with thoughts of using their collections in unique ways. I have a rock garden outside, but it will never compare with what Elise Quigley did with hers. It was fun to see, and if you wish, you can still visit this family-owned home and attraction that since 2003 is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Location and Visitor Information

It is located only a few miles south of Eureka Springs at 274 Quigley Castle Road, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632. Quigley's Castle is open every day except Thursday and Sunday, from April 1st to October 31st, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Call this number for ticket prices and more details: 479-253-8311.

A man's home is his wife's castle.

— Alexander Chase

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2021:

Hi Bill,

Yes, it is so much fun finding these out of the way places to explore. Little Gabby was so cute. Her mother was so gracious and made us feel at home. It was a delightful experience. Thanks for your comment. Enjoy your Sunday!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2021:

Hi Bill,

Yes, it is so much fun finding these out of the way places to explore. Little Gabby was so cute. Her mother was so gracious and made us feel at home. It was a delightful experience. Thanks for your comment. Enjoy your Sunday!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 21, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

Thanks for checking back and leaving another comment about the Quigley Castle. It is an amazing place! I hope you are feeling good this weekend. Stay safe and feel blessed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 21, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

Mrs. Quigley finally got the home she dreamed of for many years. It is certainly unique!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 20, 2021:

Hi Bill,

It is fun discovering these hidden gems when traveling. They may be the lesser-known ones, as you mentioned, but so much fun to see them and experience them in person. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 20, 2021:

Hi Bill,

It is fun discovering these hidden gems when traveling. They may be the lesser-known ones, as you mentioned, but so much fun to see them and experience them in person. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 20, 2021:

Hello deergha,

It would be lovely if you could see what Elise Quigley did with her butterfly collections. The jarred ones were beautiful, and her butterfly wall was spectacular! Thanks for your comment. Have a beautiful day!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 20, 2021:

Hello deergha,

It would be lovely if you could see what Elise Quigley did with her butterfly collections. The jarred ones were beautiful, and her butterfly wall was spectacular! Thanks for your comment. Have a beautiful day!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 20, 2021:

Hi Vanita,

Our little guide was so cute. By now, she must be a beautiful young woman who perhaps has little ones of her own. Thanks for your lovely comment.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 19, 2021:

What a great find, Peggy. And what a great story, Elise certainly had a vision for the place. And for little Gabby to give you a tour, how wonderful was that? Don’t you just love these off the beaten path finds?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 19, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

It is fun sharing travel experiences with you and others. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on this most unusual home, or should I say, "castle."

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 19, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

It is fun sharing travel experiences with you and others. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on this most unusual home, or should I say, "castle."

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 19, 2021:

Hi Heidi,

Sometimes these lessor known places are a true find when traveling. Such was the case with the Quigley's Castle. Thanks for your comment.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on August 19, 2021:

Peggy, Quigley's castle appears to be a pleasant place to visit. I had a great time reading your lovely article. I always enjoy reading how you go into great details about little things. That necessitates a very creative mind as well as a good observational eye. I had already commented on this article, but I couldn't find it, so I did it again. Have a great day and take care!

Blessings and Love to you!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 19, 2021:

Hi MG,

I am glad that I could tell you about this attraction in Arkansas. It was most interesting learning about it and getting to see it.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on August 18, 2021:

Peggy

Yes. The look on his fave when he got home was probably shocking...no doubt.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 18, 2021:

Hi Chitrangada,

I am so pleased that you liked learning about Quigley's Castle and how it came to be. Thanks for your comment.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on August 18, 2021:

What a great story and place to visit. I loved the fact that Gabby showed you around, how neat was that. Elise certainly had a vision for the place and good for her for seeing it through. Don't you just love these hidden, lesser-known gems that are out there just waiting for us to discover them? Great job.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 18, 2021:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

I hope that you and your mom get to take many trips together in the future when Covid is in our rear view mirror. I fear it may be a while before that happens, given the news about variants emerging, and so many unvaccinated people here, and worldwide. Take care, and thanks for your comment. Quigley's Castle perfectly fits the word "kitsch."

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 18, 2021:

Hi Rosina,

It is nice to be able to think of other things than is what on the news today. So thanks for taking a look at this unique attraction in Arkansas. My mother and I had a good time visiting there. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 18, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

She surely took things into her own hands about getting this project started! I can only imagine the shock of her husband when he came home after work that day! I am glad you liked this story and the result of her undertaking.

deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on August 18, 2021:

Loved reading your article Peggy W. The jarred butterfly collection, wish I can see it someday.

Thanks for the awesome share.

Many love and hugs your way.

Vanita Thakkar on August 18, 2021:

Enjoyed a lively virtual visit to Quigley's Castle with you and your mother. The photographs are beautiful. Your little guide looks so cute !! I would have loved hugging her, carrying her around and taking her in my lap.

Elise Quigley's work on her dream home and her love for Nature made her a great architect. There is so much to be leant from what she left behind !! I enjoyed the video you have shared.

You seem to look like your mother - eyes and smile are very similar.

Thanks for sharing information about this beautiful place.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 17, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

You are probably remembering the Beer Can House in Houston where a man used all of his used and flattened beer cans to clad the exterior of his house, mailbox, and more. You do have a great memory!

My rocks are only used to border beds, etc., outside. It does not hold a candle to what Elise Quigley did with her collection. Thanks for your comment.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on August 17, 2021:

Peggy, this place appears to be just stunning. It was interesting to learn about Quigley's Castle. I always enjoy and appreciate how you describe minor details in your writings. That necessitates a sharp eye and a creative mind. You undoubtedly have both. Much Love! Take care and stay safe and healthy.

Blessings always

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 17, 2021:

This looks like such a darling place! Well worth a stop if traveling in that area. Thanks for always sharing these smaller sightseeing treasures!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 17, 2021:

Hi Adrienne,

Quigley's Castle may not be the prime reason many people travel to Eureka Springs, but it is definitely worth seeing, as is the Thorncrown Chapel just outside of Eureka Springs. That is a beautiful area of Arkansas! Thanks for your visit and comment.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on August 17, 2021:

Peggy, that's a wonderful post and I thought I had seen a lot of America but you bring places alive, and it's so enchanting. Thank you for sharing.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 17, 2021:

Hello Peggy!

The Quigley’s castle looks beautiful and unique, with prominent and good use of shells, and stones. I enjoyed the information, which you have shared, with nice pictures and video. Thank you for the virtual tour of this wonderful place.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 17, 2021:

Hi Dora,

Yes, the sights at Quigley's Castle definitely fit the term "unusual." It was so much fun to see the ingenuity of Elise Quigley, and what she did with her collections of items. Thanks for your visit and comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 17, 2021:

What a nice kitschy place to visit. I'm glad that you and your mom could take trips together. I'd like to do the same with my own mother once COVID subsides (knock on wood).

Rosina S Khan on August 16, 2021:

Quigley's Castle looks like an interesting place to visit. Elise's collections seem wonderful as well. Thank you, Peggy, for portraying this exquisite place.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on August 16, 2021:

Peggy

I absolutely love this story.

I have always been amazed with rock houses and for that matter, Nature.

She knew what she wanted and had a dream.

Thank God she moved into that chicken shack to get it started.

Great pics.

manatita44 from london on August 16, 2021:

Quigley's castle is amazing! You spoke of a man once, who was also a rare collector. Was it tin cans? Did he turn it into something special? My memory is vague.

These folks are very creative, especially the woman and I smile with you, as you try to re-create a design outside you home. Noble effort. Mrs Quigley must have been an a gifted women! The butterfly wall looks amazing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 16, 2021:

Hi Pamela,

My mother and I always had a great time vacationing together. We were also the best of friends. Like you and your mother, I treasure those memories. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Adrienne Farricelli on August 16, 2021:

Thank you for sharing all your findings on places to visit that are often off the beaten path. Quigley's Castle sure sounds like an intriguing place to visit.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 16, 2021:

Quigley's Castle is Phenomenal. I enjoyed the sights though they are mostly unusual. Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 16, 2021:

This looks like a terrific place to visit, Peggy. I would love to is it the castle. Elise was a unique person, and the pictures you took are wonderful. I know you had a wonderful time at this interesting place.

I took a couple of trips with my mother, and those are treasured memories.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 16, 2021:

Hi Bill,

That is so true! I am so glad that we took the time to visit Quigley's Castle. That little girl who was a great granddaughter of Elise Quigley is probably a beautiful young woman now. She was such a cutie.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 16, 2021:

What a great story! How very cool! This is one of those treasures one might not think much of if you saw it on a map, but if you take a chance and visit it, it turns out to be a gem. Thanks for sharing this great story.

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