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US couple buy bargain $395k castle

16:00 AEST Fri Jul 13 2012
Fiona Willan, MSN NZ

A couple in the US have bought a castle complete with a stone tower, peep holes and secret passageways for just $395,000.

Brandon and Kate Smith bought the 724sqm castle in Eureka, Missouri, last month but first heard of it in 2005 when it was on the market for nearly $2 million.

"I was 24, 25 and I was like, 'that's really cool'," Mr Smith told ABCNews.com.

"I kept an eye on it for years and then long story short, it became available."

The four-bedroom castle, which has seven bathrooms, eight fireplaces and sits on 2.4 hectares of land, was originally built by dermatologist Wallace Stuart after he bought the property in 1968.

Dr Stuart built the castle for his wife, Joan, whose nickname was "Princess".

"I asked her what kind of house she'd like to end up living in and she said she wanted a big white house on a hill," Dr Stuart said.

"I said 'well a princess should have a castle and someday I'll build you one'."

Dr Stuart and his teenage son spent more than 10 years building the castle, but it was vacated in 1980 after his marriage ended.

The home remained vacant for 15 years before Dr Stuart sold it to another doctor in 1997 for $126,000.

The man who bought it put more than $1 million of work into it.

He tried to sell it for nearly $2m in 2005 but it went into foreclosure.

The Smiths bought it in June this year and plan to add two more bedrooms before moving in.