Colorado castle is one man’s hand-built monument to freedom

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Colorado castle is one man's hand-built monument to freedom

Colorado castle is one man's hand-built monument to freedom

It’s best not to ask Jim Bishop when he might finish his fairy-tale castle. It only riles him up.

“When I don’t wake up one morning, then it will be done,” he declared, rising from a chair beside his mighty 160-foot-high fortress of rock and stained glass. “And I don’t need no help from nobody!”

His wife, Phoebe, gave him a look.

“Jimmy, sit down,” she said as he slowly retook his seat.

It’s been a tough year for Bishop. He suffered a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare cancer. On top of that, he says someone tried to swindle him out of his beloved citadel, which sits at 9,000 feet in the San Isabel National Forest.

“No one will ever control this castle but me,” he said.

For the last 47 years, stone by agonizing stone, Bishop has pursued a dream of building his own mountain redoubt with little more than old National Geographic magazines for architectural guidance. Working alone with makeshift pulleys and his own weather-beaten hands, he slowly transformed a small cottage into something truly monumental.

With its flying buttresses, great hall, hair-raising spiral staircases and a silver dragon’s head that spews fire, Bishop Castle, about 145 miles south of Denver, has attracted worldwide fame. […]

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