A construction project that started as a simple cottage has evolved into an eloquent castle. Herds of visitors flock to see Bishop’s Castle in Southern Colorado everyday. If you are brave enough, you will take the stairs to the top of the two towers, one reaches 160 feet. Majority of the masterpiece has been created with one set of hands. They belong to Jim Bishop who has been crafting the castle for the last 43 years. He bought the land the royal castle sits on when he was 15 years old, for just 1,250 dollars. When asked where he learned all the tricks of the trade, he says it’s in his blood. He has designed it with spontaneity, with no blueprints or set plans.
Gorgeous stain glass windows decorate the main level. A massive dragon greets visitors, which is made entirely of metal from recycled hospital trays. Wrought iron walk-ways, and handcrafted stone form the structure.
Jim suffered a severe accident a few years back after picking up a piece of equipment that later caught fire and burned his hand to the bone. Jim was forced to take a year off. He suffers immobility in his hands but that has not kept him from chipping away day in and day out.
Jim says the government has given him plenty of road blocks along the way, questioning ownership and his lack of insurance. Instead, Jim says people climb at their own risk. He is not shy about expressing his anti-government views. Signs are displayed throughout the property outlining his struggles with the institution.
Jim has a gift to craft and will subsequently leave a spectacular gift for future generations to explore.
Situated in the San Isabel National Forest, the castle is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week. It is free to enter, however, donations are encouraged. It’s located 2.5 hours from Denver.
Directions: From Colorado’s I-25, take the Colorado City exit. Head northwest on Highway 165 for 24 miles into the mountains.