Mystery Castle, Phoenix
In 1929, after being diagnosed with tuberculosis and given just months to live, Boyce Luther Gulley abandoned his family in Seattle and headed to the desert to meet his maker. When the sweet hereafter failed to materialize as swiftly as he expected, Gulley started work on a free-form home at the base of South Mountain. Using stone found at the site, along with telephone poles, rail tracks, wagon wheels, parts of cars, and anything else he could scrounge from the nearby dump, Gulley constructed an 8,000-square-foot, 18-room tour de force. The sprawling structure features a cantina, a dungeon, a chapel, and plenty of balconies for sunset views. After Gulley passed away in 1945, his daughter, Mary Lou, inherited the property—dubbed the Mystery Castle by Life magazine—and opened it for public tours, which continue to this day.