Bishop Castle, Legendary Colorado Attraction, Back in Business After Fire | Westword

Reader: Everyone Should See the Amazing Bishop Castle!

The roadside attraction was closed for a few days after the blaze on March 28.
Just one of the many marvels at Bishop Castle.
Just one of the many marvels at Bishop Castle. Bishop Castle Facebook
Share this:
Bishop Castle is back in business. Early 0n March 28, a fire burned down a guest house and the gift shop — the sole source of income for the legendary roadside attraction that Jim Bishop began building five decades ago along Colorado 165 in the San Isabel National Forest. While the entire property closed for a few days while the fire department investigated — the cause is still unknown, but was likely electrical — Bishop Castle is again open this weekend. And that pleases fans, both those who have seen the incredible place, and those who hope to one day.

Says Joy: 
After hearing about Bishop Castle for many years, I finally made the trip (only a couple of hours) last summer. It lived up to all my expectations, and more! I am so glad to hear that the Castle itself was not affected by the fire; everyone should see the amazing Bishop Castle.
Adds Ben: 
Just because the gift shop is burned doesn't mean you can't go and donate! This castle was built without gift shop and and will survive just fine but we as a community need to show Jim what he truly means to us. He is a living legend!! Him and his friends and family need our help more than ever!
Concludes Allyson: 
Is there any sort of way to donate to them? If the gift shop is their only profit from the Castle, I'd hate to see them have to sell the property.
Here's the link for donating to Bishop Castle; keep reading for more of our coverage.

Wetmore Volunteer Firefighter Department Facebook Page
"Bishop Castle, Legendary Colorado Landmark, Closed by Fire"

By Hustvedt - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia Commons
"Famed Roadside Attraction Bishop Castle Gets a Happy Ending"

click to enlarge
"Renowned Roadside Attraction Bishop Castle Under Siege in Southern Colorado"

Jim Bishop was just fifteen in 1959 when he paid $450 for a two-and-a-half-acre parcel of land at 9,000 feet on the edge of the San Isabel National Forest. It was money saved from mowing lawns, throwing newspapers and working with his father, Willard, in the family ornamental iron works,” according to the story on “Jim had dropped out of high school that year over an argument from his English teacher, who yelled at him, ‘You’ll never amount to anything, Jim Bishop!’”

But Jim had towering ambitions. For the next ten summers, he and his father would work together at Bishop Ornamental Iron Shop, then head up to the mountains, where they’d camp and think about building. In 1967, Jim married Phoebe, and “in 1969, at the age of 25, Jim decided it was time to start building a cabin in the mountains they so loved. Since rocks were plentiful, everywhere, and free, he chose to start building a one-room stone cottage...”

And he's been building ever since, adding twists and turns to his castle. The result (although Jim says the castle still isn't finished) is a 160-foot-high beloved Colorado landmark, and a towering achievement of folk art.

Have you been to Bishop Castle? What did you think? Post a comment or email [email protected].
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Westword has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.