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Copenhaver Castle On Camelback Moutain In Arizona

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Copenhaver Castle

Copenhaver Castle on Camelback Mountain in Arizona is a famous historical landmark.  A truly unique home built in 1967 by Dr. Mort Copenhaver a wealthy orthodontist.  

At that time he bought a little over an acre almost vertical property on Camelback Mountain for $4000.  He had a dream to build his own castle on the property that took him over a decade to complete.  The medieval castle is an old Moorish fortress Spanish architectural wonder nestled into the mountain.  The exterior of the castle blends into the mountainside built with the very rock blasted out to make the home.

Set high on the mountain it has unsurpassed views of the city below said to resemble a kaleidoscope.

The 7000 square foot castle has eight levels and ten balconies to enjoy the views.  Twenty rooms; five bedrooms, 7-1/2 bathrooms, four fireplaces, and three garages.  A 17-foot waterfall in the living room, a hot tub that seats 20, and a dungeon.

The dungeon is accessed through one of the many secret passageways of which not all passageways have been found yet.  A helicopter pad.  Drawbridge and a required castle moat included.

Copenhaver Castle On Camelback Moutain In Arizona

Impressive castle turrets


5050 E. Red Rock Road.  It took Dr. Copenhaver three years to blast the driveway into the hillside and another 12 years to finish building the castle.  He had help from locals who bartered dental care in exchange for working alongside him.  He also donated money to missionaries who helped with the building.

Copenhaver moved into the maid quarters in 1978 with building not quite completed. Completed in 1979 he had an opulent completion party that began a series of yearly bachelor parties.

Weddings and parties!  Press parties with open bar and spreads of food became a common occurrence at the castle.  A radio personality, Preston Westmoreland, states “It was like something out of the Playboy Mansion.” “Celebrities like Sylvester Stallone, Stevie Nicks, and Reba McEntier visited”- AZCentral

Tours helped pay kingly bills bringing in $80,000 a year.

Camelback Mountain castle entrance


Dr. Copenhaven lost his dream castle in 1988 due to bankruptcy from a million dollar IRS audit.  Up for sale at 7 million, offered 5 million, he held out for a better price that never came.

The next private residence owner also lost the castle due to bankruptcy.


For seven years the castle languished uninhabited.  Now, the castle’s plight has changed.  This past May 2013, a new owner, Robert Pazderka, bought Copenhaver Castle for 1.45 million.  Robert Pazderka is president of Armored Group LLC that makes armored vehicles; a perfect match.  He plans to spend around 5 million rehabbing the home that needs wiring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning.  Plans to gut the dated interior includes the kitchen.  More importantly, Mr. Pazcerka plans to preserve the exterior.  Nothing like fixing up a dusty old castle.  Oh what to do with the dungeon…

Let’s hope the bankruptcy curse is lifted.

Copenhaver Castle greatroom

The interior is dark and depressing.  This is the great room.

Copenhaver castle pool

The pool that new owner plans to fill in.

Copenhaver inscription wall

Rich with history including this beautiful Copenhaver inscription wall plague.  There is also a 1967 driveway plaque and knight heads on entrance doors and along walls.

A true treasure chest perched high in the Arizona desert.  Built by a man full of passion and determination who lived in his dream castle, had parties aplenty, and fell hard into bankruptcy.  Future owners did not fair well either.

Camelback Mountain Castle exterior

New life for a historic landmark is on the desert horizon.

Thanks to Robert Pazderka for allowing me to feature Copenhaver Castle.  Have a ball pouring over hundreds of photos of Copenhaver Castle at CamelbackCastle. *Link is no longer available.

Credits: CamelbackCastle.org, AZcentral, Dupont Castle

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  1. I clicked around and don’t find any info on the new owner’s progress, but you have a good idea. I will ask my brother if he has heard anything about it.

  2. What a story! A hope the bankruptcy curse has been lifted too! I kind of like the fire place tho. and the view of the windows on either side is so nice. Would be so cool if you could get “after” pictures of this one.. interesting!

  3. Castle obsessed, that is me too lately and in general I Love a Castle any old time and plan to post some more castles as if I don’t have some already. Thanks for such a wonderful visit and comment Elin. I am coming over to see you now.

  4. This was so much fun to read! From a very early age I was castle obsessed…the town I grew up in had an enormous “castle-like” home that I always loved, requested/demanded my mother drive past it any chance we had. I hope the new owner will break the curse and also open it back up for people to explore, use, see. Thanks for sharing this marvelous story!

  5. How sad that he lost the castle to bankruptcy. It sounded like he was a good man, but I am guessing that the cost of building the castle and then maintaining it just skyrocketed.

    I love that you share such fun, different and out of the way “homes”.

  6. Wow – that is quite the place! The pool in the middle of the floor is FREAKY! Watch your step!!!

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