Gothic castles aren’t commonplace in America, so this impressive real-life Hogwarts in Woodstock, Connecticut, definitely stands out. ‘Chrismark Castle’ is only a decade old but with its moat and turrets, it has all the markings of a genuine medieval castle.
Chrismark Castle presents itself as a perfectly preserved medieval structure on the outside, with all sorts of modern amenities and technology concealed on the inside. It stands on a 354-acre property, encompassing 22,000 square ft. and consists of a massive lower-level garage, eight bedrooms, ten bathrooms, 12 fireplaces, a maid’s room, a library, a pool, and several massage rooms.
The star of the castle’s opulent interiors is perhaps the 1,200 square ft. circular kitchen – it has windows all around the walls, offering a 180-degree view of Lake Porter. The dining room spells grandeur as well – it has a unique ceiling design and can accommodate a huge dinner party. The master bedroom also offers gorgeous views of the grounds, and the granite-fitted master bathroom has its own whirlpool. All the doors in the castle are custom-fit and handmade, as are the hardwood floors.
All interesting castles come with an equally interesting story, and Chrismark Castle is no exception. Christopher Mark, great-grandson of Chicago steel tycoon Clayton Mark Senior, purchased the property in 2003. He began to build his dream castle the very same year, in an otherwise normal neighborhood of moderate-sized homes. It took him seven years and $4.1 million to complete the project, with the people of the town often stopping by for a glimpse.
Once the castle was ready, Mark, 51, is said to have moved in with his now ex-wife and their two children. Unfortunately, the couple divorced in 2010, and Mark later moved his pregnant girlfriend and her older daughter into the castle. That relationship didn’t last long either – they separated, and the girlfriend took him to court, demanding additional child support.
In the years that he had made the castle his home, Mark tried hard to put the property to good use. He is rumored to have started many businesses, but none of them did very well. He started with an international modelling agency, but when the townspeople raised objections, he tried converting it into a bed-and-breakfast.
That didn’t work out either, because the law states that non-residential buildings can’t be taller than 35 ft. At one point he even kept a private zoo on the grounds called ‘Wilderness Kingdom’, with a zebra, several emus and camels. But the camels became a point of contention during the divorce – Mark and his wife each alleged that the other’s neglect had caused a camel to die of starvation in 2010.
So the castle wasn’t doing much for him, and Mark probably decided he’d had enough of medieval-style living, so he has recently put it up for sale along with 75 acres of property, including Lake Porter. It is currently listed on the real estate website Coldwell Banker with a going price of $45 million. Mark has agreed to negotiate, though – he might agree to take $40 million, considering the taxes on the property alone amount to $69,000 per year.