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Bishop castle: A castle in Colorado that was single handedly built by one man

David Goran

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.

 

The Bishop castle in Colorado. Source

The Bishop castle in Colorado. Source

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”.

The front half of the castle from the north. Source

The front half of the castle from the north. Source

 

40 years he has worked on the castle. Source

40 years he has worked on the castle. Source

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.

Inside the castle. Source

Inside the castle. Source

 

Glass flowers at the windows of the castle. Source

Glass flowers at the windows of the castle. Source

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”.

Metalwork arches and tower. Source

Metalwork arches and tower. Source

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.

Arches below the room. Source

Arches below the room. Source

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.