Camelback Castle

Castle History

The Copenhaver Castle is a true historical landmark property on Camelback Mountain. It is one of the most unique, well-known and recognized homes in the Phoenix area. To delve into its history is to learn the story of an eccentric Phoenix orthodontist whose vision for his own Spanish-style fortress in the heart of the desert led to an inspired architectural creation and a true historical landmark.

In 1967 Dr. Mort Copenhaver purchased a just over 1 -acre, nearly vertical property at 5050 E. Red Rock Road on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix for the sum of $4000. At this time, it was believed by the sellers that the lot was unbuildable. The mountain was and remains home to some of the most scenic homes in all the Valley, but Copenhaver had a vision that would trump them all. Over the course of the next 12 years he set about creating his very own castle modeled after Moorish castle architecture and reminiscent of ancient castles found in Spain. From the very beginning it was clear that this was no ordinary structure. In fact its exterior walls are built of stone pulled from the mountainside itself, lending a natural aesthetic that rendered the castle quite literally a part of the mountain itself. It's priceless views of downtown Phoenix and incredible sunsets are unrivaled in their beauty.  

Camelback Castle ExteriorWhen Dr. Copenhaver was finished he had created a 7,807 square foot home with both modern features and historical flourishes inside. Nowhere else in the Valley, for example, could one find a home with a dungeon that just happens to include a wet bar. Or one that featured a draw bridge, or a 22-person Jacuzzi, and an adjacent sauna. The multi -level home featured 20 rooms in all, including five bedrooms, as well as 7.5 bathrooms, four fireplaces, four garages and carports, and even a 17 foot waterfall in the living room.

In its heyday Dr. Copenhaver was quite the host, and lavish parties including A-list celebrities were a common theme. The uniqueness of the home brought much outside media interest, and it was featured on The Learning Channel  and the BobVela show "This Old House" and in other media outlets. In addition, the home was opened up to tours for a fascinated public to raise money to perform dental work on the needy children of Phoenix. Dr. Copenhaver lost the home in bankruptcy proceedings in 1989, and while the home became a private residence after that, public fascination with this one-of-a-kind structure has remained steadfast.

Now in the hands of a new owner with plans for an interior renovation and of re-opening the home to the public, The Copenhaver Castle promises to add new and exciting chapters to its storied history and remain a true crown jewel of the Arizona desert.