For the past few years, I’ve served on the board of directors of the Eastern Shore Art Center, and have recently been in charge of membership. In order to promote what fun it is to be a member, (wheee!) we have decided to organize special “members only” field trips and excursions, so here I am in my new red shoes welcoming everyone. It was a fun group of about 25 people who were all interested in the local history and architecture of the Fairhope Castle.
There are actually two castles, fondly referred to as “story book” castles. One built by Pagan’s late father, artist and writer Craig Sheldon, who named Pagan after the pagans he spent time with during the war. He said they were the nicest, most Christian people he had ever met – and that’s only one of the many, many stories that surround this fascinating family.
When she’s not busy nibbling her curds and whey and waving her magic wand, Pagan, is also the co-director of The Creative Outlet Dance Center. She told us how it was always interesting growing up in such a creative home (which is now called the Sheldon Castle) and how her father would have the children bring stones back with them when they would walk down to swim in Mobile Bay. Each stone was worked into the house design which evolved over time. This house is where Pagan’s sister Megrez now lives. She was named after a favorite star Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon would look at each night when they were separated during war time. You may also recognize that name as belonging to Pagan and Dean’s daughter, Megrez Mosher, who I told you about HERE.
The front door was carved by Mr. Sheldon and autographed by famous artists, politicians, and other interesting folks who visited him.
Years later, Dean and Pagan began construction on this castle of their own just across the lawn, and over the fairy tale bridge (I call it the Billy Goats Gruff Bridge – one of my favorite fairy tales). This home is known as the Mosher Castle.
When not tending to castle duties like shooing out the dragons or sweeping up the pixie dust, Dean is a world renowned artist with works hanging in The Smithsonian as well as several other museums and major universities.
His paintings and sculptures are known for their historical and natural details. Dean’s intense research has led him to work on several films and he told us about firing a real cannon in order to be able to paint a scene accurately. That’s just one example of his major dedication to detail and why Dean is in such demand.
Here we are in the kitchen looking at the beautiful handmade table. The built-in china cabinet in the background was made by Dean for Pagan as a Christmas gift. It has a beautiful asymmetrical pattern in the door. Each light fixture, mantle, hearth, and bookcase has a wonderful story behind it.
Up in the turret, where Rapunzel lives (you can really see her hair hanging out the window this weekend during The Arts and Crafts Festival) is my favorite spot. It’s a beautiful view of the kingdom with all the rooflines giving a magical feel to the balcony where a cool breeze blows. Dean designed, cut, sanded, painted and installed all of the woodwork which mimics the surrounding tree branches and roots.
as are the winding stairs that lead to the princess perch. (There’s also a prince living in the castle. More on Cleveland Mosher another time).
IIf you’re in Fairhope, the Moshers are always gracious hosts to those who want to photograph the outside of their house, and by contacting them through their web site, you can make arrangements to have a tour of the interior.
Upon closer inspection to the exterior, you can see fragments and mementoes of special items, some beautiful, some quirky, all interesting, melded into the exterior walls that protect our local story book family. There’s so much more to see than what I’ve been able to show you. I hope someday you’ll be able to tour this magical home for yourself.
A big thank you to the Moshers for allowing our group to tour their amazing home, and more thanks to them for being such tireless contributors to Fairhope’s thriving art scene. If anyone deserves the royal treatment, they certainly do.