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These unique castles are all located in the U.S. and are all self-made. One was even made from beer cans and discarded metal! From Colorado to Florida, you can catch a glimpse of these astonishing buildings yourself. For now, check out these four mind-blowing self-made castles below.
The following is an except from Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton!
In 1969, at the age of 25, newly married Jim Bishop started constructing a stone cottage for his family. Over the decades, as he kept building, that stone cottage became a castle. Today it is a multilevel marvel with three towers, a grand ballroom, and a fire-breathing metal dragon guarding the main eave. And Bishop still isn’t done.
Bishop plans to keep building until he is no longer physically able. When visiting, you may see him carrying stones or making an impromptu speech from one of the towers—he is known to unleash his political views on visitors at high volume.
Vietnam vet Donald “Cano” Espinoza built this set of four gleaming towers single-handedly, using beer cans, hubcaps, and other discarded metal. He has cited as his main influences Jesus and “Vitamin Mary Jane.”
When 26-year-old Latvian Ed Leedskalnin was jilted by his sweetheart the day before their intended wedding, he dealt with his distress by moving to the US and making a castle out of coral. The 5-foot-tall (1.5 m), 100-pound (45 kg) Leedskalnin somehow hauled 1,100 tons (997 MT) of coral blocks around to create a monument to lost love. A 500-pound (227 kg)heart-shaped stone table is among the hints of heartbreak incorporated into the architecture. A plaque laid into one of the walls reads, cryptically, you will be seeing unusual accomplishment.
Last on our list of self-made castles is Solomon’s Castle. In 1974, sculptor and pun lover Howard Solomon began constructing a self-made castle out of aluminum printing plates salvaged from a lo cal newspaper plant. The building is now a gleaming, medieval-style castle standing three stories high and incorporating a sculpture garden and a 60-foot (18.3 m) replica of a 16th-century Portuguese battleship.
Excerpted from Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2016
Photo Credits: Bishop Castle by Jesse Doyle; Bishop Castle spot by Ashley Avey; Solomon’s Castle by Ilene MacDonald, Cano’s Castle by Blaine Harrington lll.
Atlas Obscura | June 6, 2017
In an age where everything seems to have been explored and there is nothing new to be found, we celebrate a different way of looking at the world. If you’re searching for miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper, the Atlas Obscura is where you’ll find them. There is plenty out there to discover, so let’s start looking! Visit AtlasObscura.com for more info.