One of the most literal castles of Chicago is this decorative pile in a northside neighborhood.With its heavy stucco rustication, wrought ironwork and gargoyles it makes for a dramatic sight on a quiet street.

A sneak peak at the rear of the building seems to indicate that it was once a simple brick 6- or 8-flat apartment building before its current owner greatly expanded it. Pity to the neighbors just to the north who never see sunlight on a winter's day like this one.

Bristling with security cameras, this castle is a high-tech fortress! When the gates open the lord of the manor races forth in his insulated carriage, safe from the dangers of the world outside.

Decorative terracotta panels, and above, an unlikely pairing of glass block and stained glass.

Of course a castle must have gargoyles. Here roaring lions are ready to spew rainwater from roof.

A few minutes' searching on the internet established that this castle is the home of a famous doctor who is an outspoken advocate of cloning human genetic material to stop the aging process. Aha! Didn't you suspect that a mad scientist lived here? Who knows what kind of nefarious experiments are being conducted in that dungeon laboratory even now?

Go ahead, ring the doorbell, if you dare!

Copyright 2010 Matt Bergstrom