Cheryl Preheim will give you an inside look at Bishop Castle on Thursday morning on 9NEWS! Catch her story at 6 a.m.!
It is a kingdom of one man’s doing.
The castle started with a teenager’s vision in 1969 and the money he made mowing lawns.
“The land was for sale for $1,200 with a $450 down payment,” Jim Bishop said.
He knew he had to have it.
“I took $450 out of my $500 savings and that is how it all started,” Bishop said.
Bishop was 15 when he bought the two-and-a-half acres in Rye, Colorado. It’s about an hour’s drive west of Pueblo.
He and his dad spent a decade clearing the trees, then Jim spent a life time building on it; stone by stone by stone.
Bishop always had elaborate plans for it.
“My dad wanted a place big enough for a pipe organ, now two can fit in here,” he said.
Every spindle, every stair, and each spectacular detail Jim crafted by hand. Every quirky design was conceived in his imagination.
He made a towering silver dragon that guards over the entrance from recycled food trays a hospital planned to toss.
Jim’s wife Pheobe has been part of Bishop Castle since the start of construction. She manages the money and oks each new addition.
They don’t charge any money for tours. They’ve always said it would be a place for poor and rich to enjoy. They always appreciate donations.
Bishop laughs that he just builds, he does not measure. The result is a majestic place, as any castle should be. But you will never find another castle like it.
People come from all over the world to see it for themselves.
“In one day people came from Australia, New Zealand,” Bishop said.
They have seen others from Nepal, China, parts of Russia and Canada.
One of the favorite stories is about a motorcycle group from Germany that saw pictures of Bishop Castle online and planned a trip. They shipped their motorcycles and made the drive into the Colorado mountains.
Recently, a group of firefighters working on the Junkins fire stopped by. They’d heard of Bishop Castle and once they’d finished their work protecting the forest around it, they came to take the tour that so many others have as well.
“I’m so proud it is probably a sin, but if you can do it, you aren’t bragging,” Bishop said.
It is a fact. He is 72 years old, a cancer survivor, and still as much of a dreamer and builder as ever.
“I want to see how long I can live and what I can building during the course of my lifetime,” he said.