Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ozark Guinness World Record chimes are gone, but unique Quigley Castle still attracting tourists

You can’t claim to have the world’s largest tuned wind chimes and not have me dropping at your doorstep. I turned on to Highway 23 south of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to catch this site, listed as tops in the world by the Guinness Book of World's Records in 2006.
Alas, the chimes were gone, the store and gallery closed but the gazebo that once supported the chimes was still there, as was an unusual decorated station wagon and colorful kayak (I think it's a kayak) that appears to be a shrine of some kind. 
Apparently the wind chimes were part of the Celestial Windz Harmonic Bizaar and consisted of six tuned pipes that stretched almost 36 feet high and weighed 782 pounds. They were created by Ranaga Farbiarz, according to  
A bit disappointed but the day was young. Down the road was my second destination, Quigley’s Castle, dubbed “The Ozark’s Strangest Dwelling.” The story goes that Elise Fioravanti was an avid rock collector (a girl after my own heart) so when she married Albert Quigley, her rock assembly came with her. Quigley promised her not only a rose garden but a decent house crafted from the farm’s lumber. After several months, however, Elise got impatient living in the lumber shack and when Albert went to work on a June morning in 1943, Elise took her five children and they tore the house down.
They still had somewhere to live, however, since Elise and kids moved everything to the chicken house. As you can imagine, this got Albert on the move and he quickly began building Elise’s dream home.
Today, visitors can view what Elise had in mind at Quigley’s Castle — 28 windows that lets nature inside and walls filled with plants, some of which are now more than 65 years old, according to the web site. Remember those rocks? She covered the outside walls with them!
The house is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
       I arrived at Quigley’s Castle within the right time frame but never realizing they were closed on Thursday, so I went home doubly disappointed. But if you want a sneak peek at this creative home and the elaborate gardens Elise planted throughout the property, check out their web site and Facebook page, the latter of which contains remembrances from family members.

Cheré Coen is an award-winning travel writer specializing in the Deep South. She is the author of "Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History," "Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana" and "Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana" and co-author of "Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets." She also writes Louisiana romances under Cherie Claire, including "A Cajun Dream" and "The Letter." Write her at

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