Have a good civil new year over the weekend!
At times, I delight in human beings. I just discovered the Ozark Medieval Fortress project in Arkansas, and I have another reason to visit the Natural State. The story starts with Frenchman Michel Guyot’s decision to purchase and renovate Saint-Fargeau Castle in Burgundy. He financed the rebuilding by turning the castle into a tourist destination. Guyot has assisted in helping others save derilict castles, as well. His experience in restoring castles gave him the idea of building a new castle with the technology and materials available to the castle builders of past ages. Such a project would help students of medieval architecture better understand the objects of their discipline. It is the history department’s meeting the faculties of natural philosophy, where one reproduces an experiment in the laboratory. Guyot’s lab is Guédelon, also in Burgundy. The new castle’s construction began in A.D. 1997, and Guyot’s team expects the building to take twenty-five years.
A French couple who moved to Arkansas two decades ago, Jean-Marc and Solange Mirat, decided that they wanted Guyot to establish an architectural-historical-touristy fiefdom in the Ozarks. The project started two years ago, and now one may visit, volunteer at, or become an intern for the Ozark Medieval Fortress in Lead Hill, Arkansas.
Less historically careful but still fascinating is Loveland Castle, not far from Cincinnati. I have visited “Chateau Laroche” since I was a child, and I still marvel at its wonderful weirdness. I often lament civilizational decline and the ruin of the West, and I think that my pessimism is well founded. However, remnants will always remain. A segment of mankind will always be too beautifully odd and indifferent to the masses to go along with whatever dominant development in social evolution. Whether it is a monastery in Wyoming during a new dark age or Christian settlements in Appalachia that thrive while former American cities decay in a Mad Max style apocalyptic wasteland, civilization will survive. Like seeds of mighty trees destroyed by a holocaust, pockets of the West will experience rebirth after the ruin. I still lament the impending fall, but I suppose that there is always room for justified hope. On such a note, I wish you well on every good endeavor in the new year.