ROOSEVELT — A unique house built on the North Myton Bench just west of Roosevelt had an equally unique brush with Mother Nature this week.
Robert Taylor was working on a project in his home workshop about 2:30 a.m. Monday when there was a brilliant flash of light outside followed by immediate darkness.
"I just heard a kaboom!" Taylor said. "It was really bright and dark and loud all at the same time, and I was really confused."
Taylor, who was barefoot at the time, managed to find a lighter in the dark. He used it to check for broken glass, then found his shoes and a flashlight.
In the flashlight's beam, Taylor began to take stock of the damage that had been done to the inside of his home, which is built to look like a medieval castle, complete with towers at the four corners.
The Sheetrock was damaged on two walls. A pair of deer antlers that had been mounted to one of the walls was now on the ground. A flourescent shop light was suspended from its ceiling chains at an odd angle.
"I went in the bathroom, and it was smoky in there," Taylor said. "There was a really weird smell. I guess it was the smell of ozone."
Taylor's nephew, who lives next door and is an electrician, came over to check on his uncle. As the men walked around the outside of the house, they found evidence that it had been hit by lightning.
"That's when we saw the big chunk and all the pieces," Taylor said Thursday, pointing to a scattering of cinder block debris that had been blasted out of the southwest corner of his castle.
A bolt of lightning apparently traveled down a steel bar inside the wall of the castle, exploding the cinder block.
Two nearby trees show evidence of being scorched by lightning, and there are two large divots in the ground near the castle's southwest corner. A camper shell sitting among the trees has numerous dents in its side, apparently where it was hit by flying debris.
Taylor said he doesn't plan to repair the damage to the exterior of his home.
"I'm sure I'll leave that there," he said. "It kind of adds character to the castle."
As a child, Taylor lived in Puerto Rico and was fascinated by Morro Castle in the capital city of San Juan. Later in life, while working as goldsmith, he bought gold from a Salt Lake County company that operated out of a castle. So when it was time to build his own house, Taylor said he figured, "Why not build a castle?"
A skilled craftsman who once worked for O.C. Tanner, Taylor started building the castle in 2003 based on his own design. It took 3,512 cinderblocks and 147 capstones to build the exterior walls. He's still working to cover all those cinder blocks with stucco and finish the inside, funding the build with the sale of the pieces he crafts in his shop.
"I'll make some money, go buy some materials and work on (the castle) some more," Taylor said.
That means progress is slow, but at least Taylor knows now that his castle can take anything — including a lightning strike — even if his nerves can't.
"I was always fascinated with the science of lightning, but this time was a little too close," Taylor said with a chuckle.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: GeoffLiesik