Jim Bishop’s plan was simple: buy some land in the San Isabel National Forest, then build a modest get-away cabin. A great idea, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.
Bishop has been building his “one-room” cabin in Central Colorado since 1967, but the project evolved into a castle with a tower 160′ tall, topped with a stainless steel, fire-breathing dragon. For many of the years he’s worked on the castle, Bishop was engaged in an on-going battle with government officials over the rocks he used in construction; specifically the rocks coming from the nearby national forest. Bishop felt the rocks were his for the taking, while the government thought differently.
The barbican, moats and signs are the first fixtures to greet guests to the castle. When visiting, it doesn’t take long to figure out that OSHA has no idea the Castle exists.
Surrounding the castle, Jim Bishop has numerous signs expressing this thoughts on the government and our freedoms.
The over-sized comfy chair in front of the Castle greets visitors.
The stainless steel dragon head adorns the top of chimney and occasionally belches fire and smoke from a downstairs fireplace.
The Grand Ballroom shows off Bishop’s wrought iron talents, a skill learned in his family’s steel business in Pueblo.
Stained glass memorials, including a pane: “In Memory of Joe Lopez, 4/29/60-9/11/01 Flight 175 We Love You Always.”
Stairs in the castle are plentiful and Dr. Seuss-esque. Take your choice of stairs made of rock, steel or poured, but in all cases, not designed for the portly or claustrophobic.
There are outside walkways around three sides of the Castle. Bishop’s family has a business legacy of iron work in Pueblo — psychologically helpful information when using the walkway.
If you are not comfortable walking on expansion grating, and being able to look straight down to where your body will plummet, it might be best to stay on the safety of terra firma.
The main tower of the castle is 160′ tall (left of center). On the right, a temporary wooden scaffolding is in place for exterior work.
Despite the wobbly walkways, Daniel makes his way toward the main tower. Spoiler alert: he decided he wasn’t ready for the ladder, and reversed rudder.