I recently received an E-Mail from Mr. Eder which said:
Tirion Castle - Project Overview [Updated April 30, 2004]
The goal of this project is to build a medieval-theme site betweenAtlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL. The main features of the site will ultimately be a castle and a medieval village. The site is intended to host medieval and renaissance theme events sponsored by the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) (www.sca.org), and live-action fantasy role-playing games. To help cover the cost of construction and ongoing expenses, some of the following activities will also be pursued:
- Medieval theme bed and breakfast
- Hosting theme weddings and parties
- Tours of the castle and village
- Seasonal theme events (Halloween & Christmas)
- Cultural festivals (Scottish, Celtic, etc.)
Participation in the project is open to individuals and groups on a partnership/collaborative basis. That means if you help in some way, be that labor, tools, materials, or cash, you get use or part ownership.
The design goal is for the facilities to look historical consistent with modern health and safety rules. Where possible modern items will be hidden from view so as to preserve the historical atmosphere. Restroom facilities, food preparation areas, and fire safety provisions will be fully modern. The core structures will be authentic if possible, but cost and strength requirements will force using a mixture of authentic and modern materials. For example, the core of the castle walls will be concrete with steel reinforcing due to their height. Smaller buildings such as the cottage style cabins can use wattle and daub filling in a timber frame.
Step one, which took 20 years, was to save up enough to start this project. Step two was to find some partners and future users of the property, which I have done. This is way more than a one man job. I have purchased 93.5 acres of forested land about 15 miles southeast of Talladega, AL. The property started out undeveloped except for a county road running through it. It is bordered on two sides by the Talladega National Forest and it is unlikely the privately owned land on the other two sides will be developed anytime soon.
The property has trees growing on it, with about 80% hardwood and 20% pine. The trees are about half grown, so there are some that are large enough to use for timber, and a lot that are too small right now but will be large enough in coming years.
Since there is no public water in the area, I had to make sure there would be enough water from a well to supply the buildings we will put up. So I paid to drill a well, and it supplies 12-15 gallons/minute, enough for 4-5 showers to run at once.
A bunch of percolation tests were done in several parts of the property. This was to determine where a septic system could be installed, and therefore where the buildings could go (uphill from the septic system). We have received two septic system permits from the county, one for my residence and one for the bathhouse.
A contractor cleared underbrush and small trees (<6 inches diameter) from about 1.1 acres in September, 2003. We will be surveying and selecting locations for the buildings, driveways, etc. next, followed by removal of the remaining trees from the building and driveway loactions. The next item will be purchasing a 8x8x40 foot steel shipping container (like the ones you see on trucks and trains) to be storage for tools an materials until we get a permanent workshop built.
We will be taking reservations for weekend events to be held starting Spring 2004. On opening, we will have primitive camping facilities in place, and be gradually improving them over time. Until we have a certain level of permanent facilities in place, there will be no charge to use the site, but we do ask individuals or groups to help at one of the work parties.
Origin of the Name
Tirion is the name of a city of the elves in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Silmarillion". Both the SCA and fantasy role-playing games, the two major expected users of the site, can trace their origin to Tolkien's work. It is also the name of a Star Catalog used by amateur astronomers. I was an astronomy major in college, and hope to set up an obervatory in one of the castle towers.
For more Information:
The project email list can be found at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TirionCastle/
There is more detailed information about the project in the files section of the list.
Princess Patricia and I visited Mr. Eder in March of 1999. The castle plans we saw looked good. I will keep in touch with Mr. Eder, and will update this page as he progresses with his castle.
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