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Culture

Wanna Buy a Legit 1940s Castle on the St. Croix River?

Designed for a Minnesota dynasty by Edwin Lundie, the woodsy riverside kingdom was recently used as an Airbnb.

MLS

Castles: They’re not just for elite inbred sickos.

In fact, depending on your pre-approval figure, a medieval-evoking stone masterpiece on the banks of the St. Croix could be yours for $2.5 million. “This truly one-of-a-kind home is steeped in history and full of remarkable design,” reads the property listing from Josh Schrock with Rize Realty.

Built in 1940, the Marine On Saint Croix castle at 801 Pine Cone Trl. N. boasts four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and 3,774 square feet of living space on a six-acre lot that abuts William O’Brien State Park. “Most furniture and docks are included in the sale,” Schrock notes. The 256 feet of shoreline along a federally protected river? Pretty sweet. As is the history of the castle, whose three-foot-thick walls were quarried on-site.

“It was built for the MacMillan family, who were cousins of the Cargills,” owner John Norusis told me in 2019. “It’s a really unique, special place; it’s literally something out of a fairy tale. The moment I saw it online, I kinda thought when I looked at it it’d be less appealing, but the photos didn’t do it justice. The craftsmanship… I don’t know if there are masons alive who could do this.”

South Dakota-born, St. Paul-based architect Edwin Lundie designed the castle for the Cargill-MacMillan dynasty—America’s fourth-richest family as of 2020, Forbes reports. (The Wayzata foodstuff processor is the largest privately held company in the U.S.; environmental advocacy group Mighty Earth once dubbed it “The Worst Company in the World,” citing its biz/labor practices, health violations, and ecological devastation.) Anyway! The historically underrated Lundie seemed like a pleasant enough fellow, having designed beloved Minnesota spaces like Lutsen Resort on the North Shore and the Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.

In recent years, Lundie’s Classical castle on the St. Croix has been used as an Airbnb, though the city recently put a stop to that. In the case John P. Norusis v. City of Marine on St. Croix, a district judge ruled this past June against Norusis, who plans to appeal. The property, which is zoned residential yet was used for events like weddings, is now banned from operating as a rental until its owner acquires a license. The castle has attracted 30+ formal complaints from neighbors alleging “excessive traffic, speeding on a shared drive, party buses, drunken guests parking on neighboring property, and yelling and partying late into the night,” the Country Messenger newspaper reports. Reviews on the Airbnb listing, which is still active and charging $689 per night, are mostly glowing.

Let’s take a photo tour of the riverside castle, courtesy of the MLS listing: