No, the three-t Otttis in the headline is not a typo.
People around St. Augustine claim that there’s one t for each of the three crosses atop Calvary when Christ was crucified.
Castle Otttis is named for Ottis Sadler, the stone mason who helped designer Rusty Ickes build it.
If you guessed that Castle Otttis is an Irish castle, you’re not wrong.
It’s modeled on an actual 1,000-year-old castle in Ireland.
For authenticity, the builders worked with historians from the Catholic Diocese of Northeast Florida to re-create the atmosphere of an Irish abbey of the period.
And what could put you in mind of St. Patrick’s Day more than that?
Why’s it here?
If you stop for a moment to remember all Florida’s historical baggage with Spain and its Irish governors, maybe we should have expected that eventually GreaterJax™ would have an Irish castle to go with the French forts and the Castillo de San Marcos.
At 50 feet high and an estimated 7 million pounds, Castle Otttis is an impressive structure.
(To see inside Castle Ottis, check out the list pages.)
Situated about three miles north of St. Augustine on A1A, Castle construction began in 1984. The concrete-block-and-poured-concrete exterior was completed in 1988, and the builders took another three years – until 1991 – to finish the interior with cypress wood and southern heart-pine ornamentation.
Castle Otttis is not now and was never intended to be private home or an inn, or even what it really is – a tourist attraction.
And, no you’re still not wrong if you’ve just now realized that St. Augustine has castles at both ends.
Art is the answer
Castle Ottis is what’s known in the architecture/art biz as a “landscape-sculpture,” a structure built to adorn the landscape and/or one from which to view it. (You can see it from the beach and the beach from it.)
Conceived as a place for quiet contemplation, the castle is available, upon request, for prayer and meditation on Sunday mornings.
All visitors over the age of nine and without behavioral disorders (because of insurance riders) are welcome regardless of denomination or faith, culture, ethinicity or orientation.
The Castle is available to schools, churches, colleges, universities and community groups for academic purposes and something called “spiritual environments” and is the setting for many more than one unique intimate wedding.
Castle Otttis bar trivia
- Castle Otttis is privately owned.
- Castle Otttis does NOT have handicapped access, electricity or other utilities.
- Castle Otttis does have a dedication – "Done in Remembrance of JESUS CHRIST.”
- All the Castle’s masonry work was done by two individuals working without laborers, helpers, elevation drawings or models. A carpenter (Lee Carpenter) and a blacksmith executed the woodwork and iron work.
- There is no glass in any of the 88 windows, so the interior is open to the air.
- The interior has examples of eight different staircases, an altar, a pulpit, a Bishop's chair, a choir loft and benches.
- Castle Otttis sits in the same line of latitude as the Great Pyramids in Egypt (30° north latitude).
- Castle Otttis won a award from the American Institute of Architects in 1992 for "the creation of a new landmark” in the United States.
- Castle Otttis is officially designated a garage because the St. Johns county property appraiser didn’t know what else call it.
Visiting Castle Otttis
- Arrange private tours through the phone number listed below. No tours on Sundays.
- 103 3rd St. at the Coastal Highway (A1A) (Call for directions.)
- PO Box 1754
- St. Augustine, Florida 32085
- Phone: 904-824-3274
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: email@example.com