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Bishopĺs Castle creates controversy and support

By George Autobee, Capt. (Ret.)

On March 22nd over 211 motorcycles invaded the Greenhorn Valley South of Pueblo, on their way to San Isabel Lake and the world-wide tourist attraction Bishopĺs Castle. The reason was to help raise a little over $3,000 in donations for the builder of the Bishopĺs Castle, Jim Bishop. Bishop has been diagnosed with cancer.

What is Bishopĺs Castle and why all the interest? North of the small town of Rye, Colo. along Colorado 165, just past Lake San Isabel and just across the county line in Custer County, is Bishopĺs Castle. Lake San Isabel was built in the 1930ĺs and has since been managed by the National Forest Service.

Construction on Bishopĺs Castle began in 1969 and has been under construction with the guidance of Jim Bishop. Because of the modifications and additions being done over the years, today Bishopĺs Castle is a worldwide attraction. That is the good news.

The bad news, according to the Custer County Clerk records, the castle was signed over to the Castle Church-For the Redemption of the office Bishop, and David Merrill is listed as the trustee, while Jim Bishop is listed as the owner of the property.

According to a business source, Merrill convinced Bishop to set up a trust. This was to protect the property because Bishop was undergoing surgery and due to failing health. After the trusteeship was created, Merrill declared himself the owner of the castle.

Bishopĺs wife claims they were taken advantage of during a time when Bishop was suffering and was weak. Merrill counters that both were not under duress and he will continue in his role as trustee. As first trustee, he owns and manages Castle Church per the trust agreement and contract. He communicated that ôhe wants for Jimĺs art to be enjoyed for hundreds of years.ö

The Bishopĺs have begun legal proceedings to remove Merrill as trustee and restore the original name to the Castle. They have also put a sign up barring him from the property.

Smiles were on the Bishopĺs faces when the 211 motorcycles roared up to Bishopĺs Castle. Chris Watkins, leader of the motorcycle group, had contacted the members of the Pikeĺs Peak Harley Owners Association, Black Sheep, Iron Order, Sons of Silence and Biker Down motorcycle clubs in the Pueblo area. Laurie Easton-Montoya is founder and president of Biker Down. Biker Down has a non-profit cooperative to assist victims of motorcycle accidents. Ms. Bishop said that ôThe outpouring of love and support weĺve have received from this organization is overwhelming and thank all of you, for the support.ö

Veterans Profiles in Courage Award

Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce and the Veterans Profiles in Courage Committee announce that they are accepting applications for nominations for the the Veterans Profiles in Courage Award. The event is set for Sept. 16th. Nominations for the award must be sent in by July 1st and dropped off at the Latino Chamber of Commerce at 215 S. Victoria Ave. Call 719-542-5513 for an application for nomination.





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