Bishop Castle – Rye, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

Bishop Castle

Rye, Colorado

The largest self-built castle in the U.S. 


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 and bought himself a two-and-a-half-acre plot of land in rural Colorado, planning to hunt and live on it. A frontier spirit, when Jim decided it was time for him and his wife to get a house, 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 60 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

I-25, turn west at highway 165 going through Rye or Colorado City approximately 27 miles to Bishop Castle.The castle is part of a non-profit organization. This by donation attraction is open during daylight hours, seven days a week, year-round. A gift shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.