Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Bishop Castle in Rye, Colorado


 

Over the spring break, my daughter and a friend decided to take a ride down towards South Central Colorado to visit an unusual stone structure that she read about on Atlas Obscura --a website that profiles "strange and wondrous" places worldwide--called Bishop CastleIt is one of the largest self-made stone castle in the United States, many decades in the making!  It is located in the Wet Mountains, in the San Isabel National Forest, 90 minutes from Colorado Springs, and 2 1/2 hours from Denver, at 12705 State Highway 165 in Rye, Colorado.  The castle is named after its creator, Jim Bishop who bought the land for the site for $450 when he was 15 with his earnings from mowing lawns and delivering newspapers. He wanted a place to go hunting and fishing. For the next few years his father helped him clear the land. In 1969, when he was twenty-five years old and married two years, he decided to begin to build a cottage on the land.  He began constructing a fence around the property and the cottage out of rocks that he found on the property.  Several neighbors and passser-bys told Bishop that the structure looked something like a castle.  Bishop liked that idea and decided to continue making the building into an actual castle.



The land the castle is on is at 9,000 feet (2743.2 M) elevation so construction could only take place in the summer months when the snow was melted.  In the other months, Jim worked in his family's ornamental iron shop in nearby Pueblo.  He had no blueprints, no construction experience, and just built it free form by single-handedly gathering and setting over 1,000 tons of rock to create his stone, concrete, and iron fortress. He said it was the feat of a hard working man.  More about the construction can be read on his website--here.  

Admission to visit the castle is free and open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours. Not without controversy over the years, he has many signs on display towards the entrance to his property with his "rules."   Donations are accepted to help with construction, and often Mr. Bishop is on the grounds on weekends still working on additions. There are no guided tours--it is explore at your own risk.



The castle reaches over 160 ft (49 m) tall, has large cathedral windows, a ballroom, wrought iron walkways...




...and a steel fire-breathing dragon that puffs smoke when the fireplace is lit!





For full information on planning a visit to Bishop Castle visit the website at this link.



Climbing the many staircases surrounding the castle are a thrilling part of the experience.  I'm glad my daughter and her friend were brave enough to do all this climbing and take these wonderful photos, as I doubt I'd have the courage to do so! 





Do you think you'd be brave enough to climb the narrow winding and sometimes shakey staircases at your own risk?






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35 comments:

Ruth Hiebert said...

WOW! What a feat! The castle is impressive and so unique . No, I would not be climbing those stairways. I don't have that kind of courage, nor would my arthritic knees allow it.

Angie said...

Pat - I think I have seen some pictures of this before, but my senior brain is reluctant to remember the details. Sigh. Anywho, spectacular photos by your daughter. I was really struck by the stained glass. I would probably think twice about some of those stairs - someone who is self-taught in construction? Hmmm. Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday! P.S. It is snowing here, too.

Shiju Sugunan said...

Jim did build a great looking castle. Monumental effort! I like the idea of chimney as a fire breathing dragon.

diane b said...

That's an amazing construction for one man by hand. No I would baulk at climbing the staircase. Interesting town name, Rye. That is where Bernie's family have a beach house in Victoria, Aus.

Lady Fi said...

Wow - what an awesome awesome place! I'd love to live there.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Wow! That place is amazing! I don't think I would climb the stairs either.

Barbara R. said...

So glad you went to visit...I also would enjoy seeing this bit of an architectural marvel! But not on the stairs!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I would love to travel West on a trip again....sometime! I'm going to write this place down as somewhere I would want to go! It's so unique! Enjoy your week!

Barb said...

Thank you to your daughter for these fabulous photos. I have never heard of this place.I really like the smoke breathing dragon!

ellen b. said...

That is such an interesting structure. I'm sure it was fun to visit!
Hope you are having a good start to this new week!

Marcia said...

What an amazing place. Not sure I'd climb the staircases with an easy mind.

Tanza Erlambang said...

impressive building....

Hena Tayeb said...

Wow.. wonderful. It does not look like something I'd expect to find in Colorado.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

The castle is so cool. Individuals who build such things are very strange.

No I wouldn't climb the rickety stairs!!

NCSue said...

What an amazing place! Wow!
Thanks so much for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2021/04/north-carolinas-pollen-season.html

Lisa said...

Wow! That is certainly worth the trip! I love the windows. Bright and happy flowers instead of depressing saints and martyrs! Neat dragon.

Lisa said...

I must add... that Atlas Obscura is amazing!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Since heights are not my cup of tea, I doubt I'd be able to make the climb. What an interesting place! The dragon makes quite a dramatic interest to the castle. How fun that your daughter was able to make the climb and take such great photos.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

that is one fascinating building!

William Kendall said...

Strange but really cool.

Fun60 said...

That is an impressive building with so many interesting features. I love the stained glas windows and the smoke breathing dragon. Would I climb those stairs? Not sure I would have the nerve.

stevebethere said...

Fab post interesting too and very unique loved all those photos :-)

Have a castletastic week 👍

eileeninmd said...

Wow, the castle is really cool. I like the tower, stained glass windows and the dragon.
It is a cool place to tour and visit, thanks to your daughter for sharing the photos.
Have a great day and week ahead.

R's Rue said...

Beautiful

Donna @ Modern on Monticello said...

That dragon fireplace would be interesting to see. Such a unique find in Colorado. Thanks for sharing it. #HomeMattersParty

Sherrie said...

Hi,
Awesome Castle....But I would never climb those stairs.
I have a fear of high places....and this is way to high
for my comfort zone. Have a great day!

Jeanie said...

How fascinating! Talk about having a great passion. I love the painted (or glass?) windows and that dragon chimney is fabulous!

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely photographs.
That fire-breathing dragon is amazing isn't it.

All the best Jan

Ciao Chow Linda said...

What a cool place to visit, Pat. I love the stained glass windows. I'm not sure I'd have the courage to climb those stairs though. The older I get (and the more accidents I've had), I've become more cautious.

April J Harris said...

Oh my goodness, what a fascinating place, Pat! I love the stained glass windows and that dragon fireplace is just amazing! How fascinating that the owner is still on site to meet and talk to. Thank you for sharing and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party Community. Take care and I hope your week is going well!

betty-NZ said...

What an intriguing place! I love places like this hidden gem!

Your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week is a wonderful addition!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

I would say "strange and wondrous" for sure, and add really interesting and well photographed!!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Thanks to you, I know where my next adventure will be!

Rambling Woods said...

Now that was an amazing teenager and how interesting...

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Thanks to your daughter and to you for telling us about the castle. We have enjoyed visiting a few of these quirky type places but didn’t know about this one, in fact not even sure I know where Rye is. Must look it up.