Every man’s home is his castle, a sentiment Jim Bishop took to heart when he began construction on his namesake project, Bishop Castle, in 1969 at the age of 25 in Wetmore, Colorado.
Jim Bishop bought the two-and-a-half acre of land just outside the limits of the San Isabel National Forest ten years earlier for $450 at just 15. The land was used by his family for the occasional camping trip until his marriage in 1967, when he was then inspired to begin the construction of a simple stone cottage for him and his wife on their property. The inspiration to build a castle came when the issue of installing a water tank arose. An iron worker by trade, this was an easy feat for him to accomplish. However, upon the remarks of family and friends that the iron and stone work he had chosen for building materials made the cottage look rather as if he were building a castle, he decided to switch gears and do just that: build a castle. Why not?
In the beginning stages of his castle, word spread and many offered their help to Jim in the construction of the castle. But no one ever did come to help Jim build his castle, which did not deter him in the least from his vision. “By God, I’ve gotten this far by myself!” he declared. “If you want something done right, do it yourself!” So, for the next 40 years, Jim balanced his work as an iron worker with the construction of Bishop Castle, a project that only ever kept growing in size.
Like any construction project, occasional issues arose: a running dispute since resolved was with the San Isabel National Forest, where he collected the stones and rocks for the castle. Jim’s goal is to complete Bishop Castle in its entirety before he passes away. He still has many additions to his vision to complete before that time is nigh, among them being the installation of a moat and draw bridge, a balcony large enough to fit an orchestra, and even the construction of a second castle!
Until then, Bishop Castle is open to visitors as an official tourist attraction, as listed by the state of Colorado’s Chamber of Commerce. The price of admission to Jim Bishop’s legacy is a donation to the (continuing) construction costs.