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The Goff-Duncan Castle

In a career that spanned six decades, self-trained architect Bruce Goff saw around 150 of his designs built in fifteen states. One of these magnificent examples of organic architecture is located high on a bluff in Northern Union County, outside of Cobden, Illinois. Built by Goff in 1965 at the request of former SIUC sociology professor, Hugh Duncan, and his wife, Mina, the Goff Duncan Castle captures the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape with its native stone construction and hallmark arches and towers. Goff used many novel approaches in the construction of the home, including the use of local stone and embedding glass ashtrays called "cullets" into walls to conduct light inside and create prismatic patterns.

Over the years, the castle fell into various stages of disrepair until Carol Etzkorn began to return the home to its initial state. The home is now under the care of Carol's brother, Glen, who is continuing his sister's efforts to restore the castle to its original splendor. Glen also operates a bed and breakfast on the property, which caters to those who are interested in Goff and his architectural designs. In this episode, Etzkorn leads WSIU InFocus co-host Roz Rice on a rare tour of the castle. Joining her is Judy McClure, daughter of the castle's builder, Ralph Batson. McClure shares pictures of the castle in its early days, along with snapshots of the Duncans and her father.


View photographs of the Goff Duncan house.

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