Bishop castle is a “one-man-project” named after its constructor, Jim Bishop, that has become a roadside attraction in central Colorado. Bishop Castle’s tallest tower rises 160 feet from the forest floor, peeking above the tops of pine trees that shield it from a clear roadside view.
For 40 years, Jim Bishop has been building this castle on a mountainside in central Colorado. He was just fifteen in 1959 when he paid $450 for a two-and-a-half-acre parcel of land at 9,000 feet on the edge of the San Isabel National Forest, outside of the town Wetmore. At this age, Jim dropped out of high school after being told he would “never amount to anything”.
Soon after purchasing the land he built the cottage for his family and surrounded it with rocks. Several neighbors noted that the structure looked something like a castle.
People came to visit more often, and Jim would often be asked if he wanted help building his castle. At the beginning, he accepted the help, but every year since 1969, Bishop has single-handedly gathered and set over 1000 tons of rock to create this stone and iron fortress in the middle of nowhere. He calls it “a monument to hardworking people”.
Building a castle was not Bishop’s original plan – he just wanted to be in the mountains, hunting, fishing, climbing with one of his neighbors. Today, Jim Bishop is 62 years old and building this castle for him was a way to get away from Pueblo. His goal is to complete the castle before he dies and he has no thought of slowing down.
The Bishop was diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma and his friend David Merrill asked him to sign an agreement making him a trustee of the castle. But Merrill isn’t holding up his end of the deal because he’s making changes to the castle that Bishop never approved. Today, Bishop is fighting to get Merrill’ name off all paperwork. Everybody in Pueblo is on Bishops side, believing that the castle belongs back with the man who built it.