On a triangle-shaped lot north of Humboldt Park a friend spotted this tiny castle made from stone and salvaged bricks.

What was once a fantasy garden with a pond and a moat was now strewn with trash and overgrown weeds. The house seemed to be abandoned, with squatters living in the basement. On the gate a big FOR SALE sign announced that the land was available.

Inside the rugged castle was a small bench and random bottles left by the local drinkers.

A neighbor told us that the original owner of the house built these two glazed dragons to guard the little castle. The dragons were large, perhaps 8 feet long and 3 feet high, and made from a rough ceramic or perhaps cast cement. They appeared to have been assembled in sections.

The dragons were originally rigged with pipes so that they could breathe fire! The neighbor told us that a subsequent owner of the house had attempted to dig up the dragons and sell them, but finding the foundations to be too deep and heavy, simply removed their fire-breathing heads.

The smallest details are visible. Note the gold ring on the dragon's claw. Out of the cracked egg a baby dragon is popping up... to breathe fire!

At the base of a fencepost, perhaps this is the signature of the artist, Rafael.

In the summer of 2005, the little trash castle had been demolished, leaving only a pile of rubble and broken bottles.

Copyright 2010 Matt Bergstrom