Bishop's Castle is a one-man work of art begun in 1969 by Jim Bishop. The top of the tower is 110 feet up. People do go up there and climb right into the top. It's a beautiful creation but I can't even begin to imagine the amount of work that's gone into the building. If you do stop and talk to Jim, you'll discover that the hardest work in the whole project was fending off all kinds of attacks on him and his work coming from the federal government and the National Forest Service: he's on private property but he's surrounded by National Forest and the feds want complete control of everything. In Jim's words: the only thing they haven't done is they haven't shot him, yet.

While most of the building is native rock cemented in place, there is a lot of wrought iron and glass used, too. The man has done a pretty incredible job of designing and building his own castle. It's the kind of artwork that very few people will try to imitate, and he's become a world-class stone mason the hard way. I know this thing looks a bit like a fairy castle but when you stand on the ground beside one of the pillars, you get this sense of an immense, heavy, intimidating Viking fortress in the forest. Jim wasn't working with a bunch of pea gravel in concrete to do this, he used some pretty good sized boulders.

On the last day when I was visiting, the entire castle was open and folks were climbing over every part of it. The exposed stairways are steep and narrow with narrow steps. In the rear of the building are spiral stairways that are easier to deal with if you experience vertigo but they are also narrow with narrow steps.

I tend to stop in every couple of years and see what's new. In June, 2007, it looks as though the major part of the castle itself is done. The photo immediately below this is new work that wasn't even begun when I went by here last summer.