What if I told you I visited a mythical castle, .. in the Colorado mountains. No, I wasn’t sampling the local legal organic crop. There really is a medieval style Castle, named Bishop Castle outside of Pueblo Colorado in the mountains.
And, . . . it is not a small sand castle, but rather a large stone Castle about the height of a 16 story building. That’s not the amazing part. Bishop Castle is hand made, and almost entirely by one man, Jim Bishop. Jim’s story is as interesting as his creation. In 1959 when Jim was just fifteen years old, he bought a 2 1/2 acre plot of land at 9,000 feet on the edge of the San Isabel National Forest, outside the town of Wetmore. In 1969 at the age of 25 Jim started building what was originally going to be a small cottage. Since there were rocks all around, and free, Jim decided to build the cottage out of stone. Several people remarked that his building looked like a Castle, and that gave Jim the idea to build himself an actual castle. 48 years later, he is still building his Castle.
Getting to Bishop Castle is an easy drive from Pueblo by a scenic drive into the mountains. I had looked at a few images of Bishop Castle online, but none of them really prepare you for what you see. The entrance is not fancy or impressive. But this is still an active construction site. Once you walk in thru what looks like a draw bridge and Castle gate you are immediately overwhelmed by this massive stone structure; it really is a Castle. The walls are made of stone from the area. The floors from trees on his land, and ornamental iron from his family business.
Interesting side note: At one time the Park Service was in a battle with Jim over his taking rocks from the National park, but apparently they worked that issue out.
The inside of the castle is mostly empty; Jim has been more concerned with building his creation up, rather than filling the rooms with furniture.
As I wandered thru the Castle, going from room to room, climbing the winding stair cases up, I felt like I should be looking for the 6 fingered man or trying rescue Buttercup from Prince Humperdinck. Or, you can insert some Robin Hood reference if you’d like.
When I got to the main cathedral area, I was blown away. Vaulted ceilings, stone archways. It’s truly beautiful.
It’s …. inconceivable.
Bishop Castle is open during daylight hours and is free to enter. There is a donation box on the side of the Castle, and a small gift shop off the the left. If you find yourself anywhere close to it. Bishop Castle is well worth a visit.