Francis Lee Smith went to work building his own log cabin in Wyoming, using local trees and mostly his own labor. Many people did the same thing when pioneers settled the West, but Smith started his project in 1980. A wildfire on Rattlesnake Mountain resulted in an offer of free timber to anyone who hauled it away. Smith took enough to build a grand home, and spent twelve years working on it.
Smith, who hails from Cody, took up residence in the house along with his wife and two kids as soon as the first floor was complete, but he never stopped construction. Night after night, Smith worked on his house by the light of a single bulb, until his crazy infatuation with the house tore apart his marriage and eventually took his life.
The house wasn’t even remotely cozy. There was no running water, or plumbing or electricity, except that provided by a small generator. A wood burning stove on the bottom floor was the only source of heat. The stove was also used to cook meals. The family dining table was a large tree stump, with smaller stumps around it as chairs. During winter, the entire family would sleep in sleeping bags on the floor huddled around the house’s only source of heat—the stove. During summer, Mr. Smith would sleep on a hammock, and sometimes his children would sleep in a separate oversized doghouse-like cabin on the front porch. Plenty of wild animals made the mansion their home when the family was still living. Raccoons, skunks, wild cats, owls and many other creatures took refuge in the structure or below the flooring.
In 1992, Smith fell from a balcony while working on the house and died from his injuries. The house remains empty and unfinished 26 years later, despite the efforts of the Smith Mansion Preservation Project. The Smith Mansion is now for sale, and it can be yours for $750,000, which includes ten acres of property. Take a video tour of the house at the real estate listing and read the story behind the home at Amusing Planet. -via Strange Company
(Image credit: Flickr user byron cain)