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Posted on Apr 23, 2015

King of his Castle: Luce adds a touch of Germany to his front yard

If someone has a castle in his front yard, does that make him a man of royalty?

That may be a question for local man Rod Luce.

The retired high school counselor, working from memories of an adventure from long ago, recently built a replica of a famous German castle. The handmade castle is a fun addition to Luce’s water feature in his front yard.

A work of passion for Luce, the castle took him a couple hundred hours to complete over the course of three months. Luce recently unveiled the royal masterpiece to families and friends at his Easter celebration.

While the project kept him busy over the dark winter months, Luce is pleased with the results.

“It makes for a much nicer view at the end of the stream,” he said.

A former field artillery officer in the U.S. Army and an avid traveler, Luce has been to all seven continents and visited 35 countries. Among those countries he has lived is Germany, where he was stationed from 1976 to 1979.

The castle is modeled after Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. Photo by Jill FitzSimmons.

The castle is modeled after Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. Photo by Jill FitzSimmons.

In Germany, Luce and his family toured the spectacular Neuschwanstein Castle, built by King Ludwig in 1865 and now a major tourist attraction. Neuschwanstein Castle is described as a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace built above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.

King Ludwig was a controversial character in his day. An eccentric man, he preferred seclusion to being with his people. He built the castle on a rugged hill, in part, to get away from his subjects. Sadly, Ludwig slept in the castle only seven nights before he died, Luce said.

In later years, the fairytale look of Neuschwanstein Castle inspired the design of the castles at the center of the Disney theme parks.

“It is gawdy but spectacular,” Luce said of Neuschwanstein Castle.

Back in Quincy, Luce was looking for something a little creative and nice to look at to cover the utility box powering the manmade stream and pond that is the centerpiece of his front lawn. Luce built the water feature about seven years ago. It includes an 18-foot stream that is lined with basalt rocks and empties into a 1,000-gallon pond.

Living in the pond are 15 colorful goldfish, some of which have grown to nearly a foot long. In a play on words, Luce jokingly calls the fish Kooy fish, named after his neighbors, the Kooy family of Kooy Irrigation, which is near his home.

Made from seven different types of wood and some PVC for the torrets, the castle was built using a table saw, file, lathe and Luce’s bare hands. Most of the materials Luce had in his garage shop. The result was a 42-inch tall castle that is 19 inches wide and 2 feet deep.

A man of details, Luce worked off of photos he found of Neuschwanstein Castle on the Internet. He painted the palace in colors similar to those of the real-life castle, which includes a gatehouse, guard and guest houses, a guard tower, several turrets and the main palace. Luce hung two miniature swans over the castle’s entrance to welcome visitors.

In the end, Luce has created a beautiful addition to his pond while also reviving a fond memory from his travels nearly 40 years ago.

And we may just have to call this Eastern Washington man Lord Luce.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,