HIGHLANDVILLE, Mo. (KSNF/KODE) — In the middle of the woods in rural Missouri, a gigantic castle has risen — well, for the most part.
“Chateau Pensmore” is one of the largest homes, not just in America, but in the entire world. At 72,215 square feet, this Missouri mansion has 13 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms and is big enough to hold about 29 average-sized homes, according to a 2011 KSPR article. In fact, it’s larger than the White House. But over a decade later, it is still under construction in the Southwest Missouri town of Highlandville, 20 miles south of Springfield.
This “castle in the Ozarks” is being built by Steven Huff, a multimillionaire, former CIA employee, and astrophysicist who founded and sold a company that created software for military and intelligence agencies. Huff, a resident of Virginia, started building the humongous mansion in 2009 as a second home, not far from his childhood home in the Ozarks, according to The New York Times. The Château Pensmore will also feature gathering spaces for guests and even a museum.
The energy-efficient castle is designed to withstand bomb blasts, earthquakes, and allegedly an EF-5 tornado — packing winds of over 200 miles-an-hour. Built for the ages, this structure is meant to stand for 2,000 years, Huff told The Kansas City Star. Due to its size and indestructibility, some are wondering if the castle is actually a military bunker.
Huff keeps a tight security on the facility. Drones have trouble flying over it, the Springfield Daily-Citizen found. No-trespassing and video-surveillance signs block the driveway. Pensmore’s general contractor, Jared Gorham, told the Daily-Citizen that if a journalist went down the driveway, the local sheriff’s office would receive an immediate notification. Gorham said everyone involved in the project tries to maintain a low profile to keep people away.
“One of the reasons that we keep quiet about it is that we get so many trespassers up here. It just slows things down,” Gorham told the Daily-Citizen.
The building, though, has experienced its share of troubles. Construction was slated to be completed in 2013, but according to the Springfield Daily-Citizen, it still isn’t finished.
That might be due to a building issue. In 2014, Huff took a construction company to court, claiming it intentionally didn’t mix the concrete for the building the way he wanted. He demanded $63 million in damages and for the structure to be rebuilt. The parties ultimately settled out of court. The details are not publicly available.