Bishop’s Castle, A Labor of Love

Head to the Wet Mountains in Southern Colorado to marvel at Bishop’s Castle. The eccentric angles, soaring wrought iron bridges and spiral stairs will make you feel like you’ve climbed into a Dr. Seuss story. Gravity doesn’t seem to have a place among these towers, expansive cathedral style windows and airy domes.

Started in 1969 by Jim Bishop, the castle has been continually worked and expanded upon ever since. Jim doesn’t let you forget that he’s single-handedly behind every stone arch, spire and stair in the building-he’s never hired a helping hand!

Tucked in the San Isabel National Forest, he minds his property with the dedication of the Swiss Guard—but only against drunks, lawyers and cops—everyone else is welcome to check out the castle, inside and out, seven days a week, from dawn till dusk.

Jim exercises his right to free speech with vehemence through a series of very polite but ultimately dead stern painted signs. The signage is a major source of entertainment for visitors, who get to read about Jim’s disdain for the government, fire bans and the need for a legal driver’s license. Other more playful notes (presumably by his wife Phoebe, who runs the gift shop), threaten shoplifters with the promise of being tied to a pole, covered in Cheez-Whiz and left to the dogs whilst onlookers laugh and point.

Notable features of the castle include the precarious 62 meter tall tower, the gleaming steel dragon bust jutting from the front of the roof (oh, and it breaths real fire with the help of a rigged hot air balloon burner, no big deal), and the cage-like dome that boasts 360 degree views of the lush surrounding mountains. You’ll be in awe of the level of ingenuity as well as creativity that has gone into this rustic construction.

“Everything just seems to work,” Jim says, “What’s real neat about not having blueprints is that if you make a mistake, you call it art.”

Make your hotel booking in Pueblo, then take the hour drive into the mountains to Rye for the singular chance to explore a bona-fide American masterpiece. If you need a car whilst on your holiday, look no further than Auto Europe where you’ll find the best deal on not only your car rental in Pueblo, but your car rental UK, France, and beyond.

Title photo courtesy of Hugo90 and Creative Commons

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