Over the years we had seen mention of the Bishop Castle in Guides to the area, but had never gone – it’s about 40 miles SE of Westcliffe. So, on Thursday we went. Amazing! It’s this very unique one man project.
Since 1969 Jim Bishop has been building his castle on a site in the Wet Mountains that he bought when he dropped out of high school. For a time he also worked in the family’s decorative iron business, so there’s a lot of decorative iron in the castle, but now he subsists and finances construction from donations from visitors.
He has signs around the property explaining his views of and battles with government and how he won the right to keep the Castle open 24/7(daylight hours) and not charge admission. By signing the guest book, I think you sign away the right to sue if injured – and the potential for injury is great. There were a couple of very nervous grandparents climbing around when I was, shrieking at their grandchildren – DON’T GO THERE! Or, "I’m standing here so I can take a picture to show your mother how you fell."
The tallest tower is 160 ft. Here I’m standing on wire-mesh catwalk between the towers. However, the catwalk dead-ends just to the left of where I am – there is no connection to the next tower, yet, but there is a roped-off ladder supporting the unfinished end.
Tight circular stairways wind through the towers.
Bishop’s current project is building a moat around the castle. I heard someone mutter, If I was building a place like this, one of the first things I would do is put in living quarters. Living quarters are in a separate building that houses a gift shop and residence. That started out to be a family cabin, but Bishop had other ideas. And, yes, Bishop is/was married.
Here I am in the bubble at the top of the shorter tower:
I'm sure you realize that Susie stayed on the ground and took these pictures of me on high.
And, here I'm at the very top, inside that little cone.
One of the panicked grandparents I mentioned said her grandson was hanging outside the cone.
One more picture.
There's a fireplace in the massive ballroom in the castle designed so that the smoke comes out of the dragon's mouth. The clouds kind of look like that here.
So, if you're ever in the area, go see the Bishop Castle. I know several of you make occasional trips to Denver. Northbound, take the Colorado City exit off I-25 and take CO 165 to the Castle. Southbound, exit at Pueblo. Beautiful mountain scenery along the way, too.
Don't think I've shown you the traditional Sangre de Cristo shot from the Grape Creek RV Park where we're staying. Here's a recent moonset.
Barn pictures to come.
Rob and Susie