On a recent road trip towards the Great Sand Dunes National Park, for once, we didn't make a lot of plans in advance. Just good ol' driving through rural Colorado and see what's out there. Bishop's Castle was conveniently on the way, and it's the stuff of legends around here. Jim Bishop has been working on this thing for a few decades now, building a for-real castle by hand.Read more >>
Overall, the construction methodology seems to be along the lines of "keep adding supports until it doesn't fall over anymore".
In general, common sense is not just expected here, it's mandatory. This is an active construction site and what's built out isn't built to be safe or anything. When I walked out on the pretty metal walkways, they shook under me, and there were spots that have clearly fallen through. I've had a friend tell me that a stair crumbled under her as she was descending from one of those towers. Having said that, however, I can't say that I showed much common sense that day - see the clouds in the pictures? We climbed the highest tower, just as a storm started gathering. As I sat at the top, taking pictures, it only slightly occurred to me that I'm sitting in a tall, exposed, metal tower. No luck getting hit by lightning so far, but it does make me wonder if anyone's gotten seriously injured here.
There are a few websites for the place, all of which give about the same information, so I'm not sure why there's more than one: http://webshells.com/cstlbldr/bishop_castle_main_index.htm. They all have very nice pictures of the place and useful information. What the websites don't show you is that there is signage like this all around the place, and that's where the crazy really starts coming out.
So there you have it - a nice little 15 minute stop if you're in the neighborhood. You can usually see Jim Bishop in the area and talk to him about the castle or politics. I didn't because the signs worried me a little - I'll leave the one below as the last little present:
The castle is free to visit, with no guided tours. If you're thinking "European style castle mimicking ones centuries old", I wouldn't expect quite that - it's more of a whimsical construction site without much practical possibilities. I must say though, this thing photographs very well.
Some really awesome features of the castle include a main hall with stained glass, a dragon at the top, and pretty swirling staircases leading to... well, let's just say don't let your kids run around unsupervised.
|Most of the staircases just lead to a small landing, from where you can glare at|
the people passing by. And try not to fall off.
|I know, let's weld more pieces on!|
|Pretty metal walkways with an optional side of|
|This one's pretty mild. There was one talking about the two party political system,|
with the D in Democrat having a hammer and sickle drawn in and the R in
Republican having a swastika in it.
|Because nothing says "I'm an adult who made something|
awesome" like screaming that it was you and not your dad. Yes,
there is a paragraph long rant about it below.