With a Dream and Some Dirt, the Sky is the Limit

By Chris Briggs

Bishops CastleMany folks who buy vacant land do so with the hope of building their own dream home from the ground up, literally. Sometimes they are afraid that they won’t succeed or that it is simply too much for one person to accomplish. With that concern in mind, consider the story of one man and his land.

In 1959, a 15-year-old boy, Jim Bishop, bought a two and one-half acre parcel of raw land in Colorado. He paid for it with money he had saved cutting lawns, delivering newspapers and working in his parent’s shop. His mother and father were required to sign the documents, but the land was bought with the boy’s own money. When he came of age, the land was officially listed as his. He started clearing the land using hand tools and eventually built his own stone cottage from the rocks he found on the property.

In the late 1970s, Jim ran across a snag. He couldn’t get running water to his land. His father suggested repurposing a large metal tank that he had salvaged as a cistern. To make the design fit with his stone cottage, Jim lined the cistern with rocks and, before long, his neighbors and friends began to tease him claiming it looked as though he was building a castle. Jim decided that wasn’t such a bad idea, and he embarked on what has become America’s largest, one-man project.

Today, the Bishop Castle stands with stone towers, iron ramparts, stained-glass windows and has a fire-breathing dragon. Its highest peak rises more than 160 feet. This achievement is a true testament of the American Dream — how one man with a dream and some land can truly achieve anything.






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