Bishop Castle – Rye, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

Bishop Castle

Rye, Colorado

The largest self-built castle in the U.S., six decades in the making. 


At the age of 15, Jim Bishop dropped out of high school after being told he would “never amount to anything.”

With the help of his parents, Jim saved up $450 and bought himself a two-and-a-half-acre plot of land in the the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado, where he planned to hunt and live.

Jim married his wife Phoebe in 1967. Two years later, when he decided it was time for them to get a house of their own, he figured he would build it himself. What started as a one-room stone cottage would soon grow to astounding proportions: It may be the largest one-man architecture project in the world.

Today the frontier fortress reaches over 16 stories high, has three large cathedral windows, wrought iron walkways and a steel fire-breathing dragon. Today Jim Bishop is over 70 years old and is still building. It is unlikely he will stop anytime soon.

In his own words: “Everything just seems to work, What’s real neat about not having blueprints is that if you make a mistake, you call it art.”

Know Before You Go

The castle is open year-round, every day from dusk to dawn. There is no cost to enter, but a suggested donation. The gift shop on site is open every day between May and October, and on the weekends between November and April.

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