Of the roughly one million castles that exist on the planet, I wonder how many of them were built as a joke. Of the ones tallied by worldpopulationreview.com, I'm going guess NONE. Castles are serious business built by serious people. Considering that most of them take on a "severe" quality in appearance, their construction was likely NOT a laughing matter.

But those are European castles. The castle at the center of this story is in Oldham County and didn't make the survey. That's fine; it's still an iconic part of a popular Kentucky attraction, and, yes, it was built as a joke. And Yew Dell Botanical Gardens wouldn't be the same--or maybe as popular--without it. (They also draw crowds for their magnificent tulip and hyacinth gardens.)

But let's get back to the "big joke."

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens can trace its history to 1941 when Theodore and Martha Klein bought 34 acres in Oldham County and promptly built a house and a greenhouse; started a successful farm; began a family; and, yes, built a pool house in the shape of a castle as a joke. (I'm guessing they were well off.) After Theodore Klein passed away in 1998, the community bought the property, and Yew Dell Botanical Gardens was born and has flourished ever since.

The Frazier History Museum took note of its fascinating background and included it in an exhibit called "120: Cool KY Counties."

As you can imagine, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens has also made quite a name for itself as a wedding and event space.

As you can ALSO imagine, since warm weather has arrived, things are hopping at Yew Dell where you can visit Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM and on Sundays from 12 PM to 4 PM.

And to think, the centerpiece of this beautiful garden spot happened as a joke. We may never know exactly what the joke WAS, but the fact that it was a joke at all is good enough for me.

LOOK: Books set in Kentucky

Stacker compiled a list of books set in Kentucky from Goodreads.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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