Portland’s Only Castle Is For Sale
Charles Piggott was a man of many interests. Piggott moved to Portland from San Francisco in 1877, and had a range of occupations, such as bricklayer, produce salesman, fuel company operator, railroad operator, and finally, owner of a brickyard on NE Sandy Boulevard. It was the latter profession that provided him with enough money and materials to build his own personal castle in the Southwest Hills in 1892.
Now known as “Piggott’s Castle,” Piggott purportedly got the idea for his project from a book called A Pictorial History of the World, in which he saw a picture of a castle on one of Rome’s Seven Hills and decided to copy it. After his architect deserted the project, Piggott finished the three-story brick structure himself, complete with eleven-foot-high ceilings, crenellated parapet, and a tower room that’s since been converted into a sauna, one that has to have some of the best views in Portland—sorry, Knot Springs.
Such an abode suited the unconventional Piggott’s disdain for straight lines, as he wrote: “In my castle there are curves in plenty; rooks, alcoves, turrets, towers and some angles, but not the deadly monotony of straight surfaces or corners to be found in most houses.” He only lived in his castle for a year, but in 1970, it was granted Historical Landmark status. Since Canterbury Castle was torn down, it’s the only remaining castle home in Portland, now on the market for the first time in several decades.
Technically, the home is in the Romanesque Revival style, denoted by the thick walls, arched windows, and bands of decorative brickwork in friezes, framing windows and running down the length of the building. There are still rounded curves galore, such as the two-story bay window topped with a crenellated roof and the three-story tower.
Inside, the tall ceilings throughout are accented by nine-foot-high windows, making for one sun-filled room after another. Exposed brick walls are joined by preserved wood trim and solid wood doors. While updates have certainly been made since its construction—like new plumbing and electrical recently—everything about the home is as characterful as its original owner. And yes, there are nooks and crannies galore, but also, plenty of straight walls for hanging art and placing furniture.
The main floor hosts the primary living spaces, including a formal dining room, eat-in kitchen, and a powder room, as well as access to the outdoor areas, including a brick patio and garden tucked atop the three-car-garage. The fully finished basement has two bedrooms and a full bathroom, as well as street access and the same high ceilings as everywhere else.
Upstairs, find the remaining three bedrooms, including the primary suite with its Juliette balcony steps away from the clawfoot soaking tub, and a second private porch surrounded in arched columns. In true castle fashion, the home has a prime perch in the West Hills, providing stunning views of city, mountains, and river from multiple rooms and the patio. But the absolute best prospect is found on the roof deck, where Piggott’s former study in the tower has been turned into a sauna, and there’s even a little bridge to a higher lookout point.
Listing Fast Facts
- Address: 2591 SW Buckingham Ave, Portland, OR 97201
- Size: 3,200 square feet/5 bedrooms/3.5 baths
- List Date: 5/1/2023
- List Price: $1,500,000
- Listing Agent: Suzann Baricevic Murphy and Chris Malcolm, Where, Inc.
Melissa Dalton is a freelance writer who has focused on Pacific Northwest design and lifestyle since 2008. She is based in Portland, Oregon. Contact Dalton here.
Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home in Portland’s real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].