The Drive to the Castle
The drive began with all interested parties meeting at a local grade school (closed for summer) and using its parking lot to line up. Then we headed out en masse.
The Arkansas River was our constant companion for a big chunk of the one and half hour drive.
We passed through the town of Silver Cliffe, then had lunch there on our way back. Isn’t this a beautiful vista? I found myself constantly amazed by these wide, high valleys ringed by mountains.
Since visiting Bishop Castle, I have struggled with how best to describe it. Vision or monstrosity? I’ll let you decide.
The dragon head gives the place a wonderful sense of whimsy.
This huge chair sat in front:
Dan said he felt like Edith Ann – one of Lily Tomlin’s Laugh-in characters. (That’s going back some! Now you know how old we are.)
Regardless of how anyone judges Bishop Castle, it is fascinating. First off, the builder, Jim Bishop has been in conflict with the authorities through much of the 40 years he has been building. This sign was my first clue:
My husband decided to start by going up these stairs. (My knees were like: “Don’t even think about it, bitch!”)
With that, I went off to look at the 1st floor while Dan continued his exploration up top.
My exploration was pretty short-lived. The bottom floor was in the disarray one might expect if with a castle being only partially done. The state of the building site certainly did not meet OSHA requirements. While there was nothing to suggest the structure was unsound, I began to have doubts about the wisdom of being in or on the castle. I went outside to find Dan. It wasn’t long before he met me on the ground having suffered the same doubts. But he did get some wonderful photos!
The Second Floor
Aren’t these stained glass windows fabulous?
There was a 3rd
floor tier. Dan did not avail himself, but others did.
A Last Look
There was a souvenir shop on site. It helps to support the castle project. I found three engraved stones, which I plan to wire wrap, and these anklets.
I don’t normally buy jewelry since I make jewelry, but I don’t do this type of bead work. And these were only five dollars a piece. Aren’t they pretty?
There was one bit of information that I didn’t find out until after our visit that marred my view of the castle. Jim Bishop made an appearance while we there (I didn’t see him), and one of our members tried to visit with him. She wished she hadn’t. The brief conversation was littered with hateful racist comments toward Native Americans. Ugh! Apparently, his bigotry is no secret. If I had known, I would never have done business with his souvenir shop.
Nonetheless, I was glad we visited. It was entirely unique.
As a side note, I’d like to bring Bluprint’s current sale to your attention as it is an exceptionally good one. I couldn’t resist signing up myself. Due to the ridiculously low price, it was time to satisfy my curiosity.