Visit Bishop's Castle
Let's talk about passion.
Not the "Fifty Shades of Grey"kind of passion but passion for what you do in your life.
(Although, hey! I'm game if you are to discuss Fifty Shades, also.)
Few of us are lucky enough to find our true passion. Even fewer manage to make it their life's work.
Part of this Sixty by Sixty Project is to inject some passion back into my life. I feel I've become complacent and I don't want to spend the rest of my life just "going along".
While friend Cherrilla was here we went to Bishop's Castle in Rye, Colorado.
Wow! Talk about someone finding their passion. Jim Bishop has certainly done that.
This is his castle.
Jim's story starts in 1959 at the age of 15 when he purchased 2 1/2 acres of property surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest. He cleared the land on the weekends and built a family cabin. He married in 1967 and decided in 1969 to build a stone house on the land. He chose stone because "rocks were plentiful, everywhere and free"*.
Once he started building his stone house, people told him it looked like he was building a castle. Sometimes it can just be an off hand comment, a picture, or a thought that will spark a person's passion.
That's what happened with Jim Bishop.
Cherrilla and Jim Bishop discussing how he got started.
He is there most weekends still working on his castle.
He heard "castle" enough that he started looking at pictures of castles.
And he kept building. And adding stones.
As he added stones, he added iron work.
Jim Bishop is a high school drop out with no formal education. No education at all in design, architecture or engineering.
He supported himself by working in his family's ornamental iron work shop.
This castle has been 100% built by him, with no outside help.
Every bit of iron work.
It is a passion, a feat of engineering and an inspiration.
The iron work is amazing.
The turrets are connected by iron walkways and circular stairs take you up the inside and outside of these towers.
The castle is 160 feet at it's highest point and people are free to climb the stairs up that high if they dare.
(Perspective: 160 feet is about 16 stories high.)
Me. Holding on for dear life.
The castle is a construction site. It is not finished and according to Mr. Bishop, it never will be.
Safety is in your own hands. A few ropes help keep you from plunging to your death.
Stairs to no where.
A window to the main room.
The main room had an amazing vaulted ceiling.
There is a dragon that breathes fire on most summer weekends. When there is a fire in the fireplace, smoke comes out of his nostrils.
Note that I took this picture from ABOVE the dragon.
Very, very high in the air.
One hundred percent constructed by Mr. Bishop by hand with no education and no out side help.
He rigged pulleys and "come-alongs" to hoist things into place.
We had a fabulous time exploring Mr. Bishop's passion. Although I will say we were more than a tiny bit nervous standing on steel grating 100 feet in the air. As you can see in this picture, Cherrilla and I were hugging the wall and my right hand was probably clasped tightly around a rock behind Cherrilla's back. And for the record, I've never been afraid of heights.
But not to worry.
Mr. Bishop has all liability issues covered.
Signs are everywhere and we signed the guest book which apparently meant we waived all of our rights in case we dropped to our deaths.
The guest book was an old school note book.
I had to search to find an empty page to write on.
As we left. Mr. Bishop, age 69, was back at work, moving rocks.
Although I suspect for Jim Bishop this has never been "work".
This castle has been his passion.
And we could all use a little passion in our lives.