Postman Cheval (19 April 1836 – 19 August 1924) was a French postman who spent 33 years building an extraordinary palace out of pebbles and rocks he collected during his daily mail route. I find it amazing that he was able to build such a visionary building simply by using stones he found. Cheval called the structure Le Palais idéal, which means "the ideal palace." It's located in Hauterives, which is now a commune located in the Drôme department in southeastern France.
Cheval on his Palace:
"I was walking very fast when my foot caught on something that sent me stumbling a few metres away, I wanted to know the cause. In a dream I had built a palace, a castle or caves, I cannot express it well… I told no one about it for fear of being ridiculed and I felt ridiculous myself. Then fifteen years later, when I had almost forgotten my dream, when I wasn't thinking of it at all, my foot reminded me of it. My foot tripped on a stone that almost made me fall. I wanted to know what it was… It was a stone of such a strange shape that I put it in my pocket to admire it at my ease. The next day, I went back to the same place. I found more stones, even more beautiful. I gathered them together on the spot and was overcome with delight… It's a sandstone shaped by water and hardened by the power of time. It becomes as hard as pebbles. It represents a sculpture so strange that it is impossible for man to imitate, it represents any kind of animal, any kind of caricature. I said to myself: since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, I will do the masonry and the architecture."