Wyoming’s dizzying Smith Mansion is rumored to be built over a mine shaft or by the hands of a madman or as a perverse joke, but the truth is that it is simply the work of a man who could not stop building.
Located in the picturesque Wapiti Valley, the former home of builder and engineer Lee Smith rises out of the landscape in a seemingly random collection of wooden terraces and staircases. Smith began building the home for his wife and children from locally harvested logs and wood, and in the beginning the house had a fairly mundane form. However, after completing the basic home, Smith continued to build, adding extra floors and seemingly tacked-on balconies, all from logs he would collect in his small pick-up. Even after his devotion to the building project led to a divorce, Smith simply redoubled his efforts, building winding organic staircases and scenic terraces on the upper floors. Tragically, Smith fell to his death while working (untethered, as was his way) on one of the upper balconies.
The Smith Mansion has since sat empty, accumulating myths and legends about ghosts and madmen. However, Smith’s daughter, Sunny Smith Larsen, has begun a preservation campaign for the site and hopefully her efforts will keep her father’s astonishing house from being destroyed by daring teenagers and superstitious tourists.