One day in 1927, Boyce Luther Gulley left his office in Seattle for a lunch-hour doctor's appointment and never returned - not to work, nor to his wife and daughter. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, he disappeared, re-appearing 3 years later in the hills south of Phoenix. There he spent the last 15 years of his life creating an 18 room mansion out of native stone, adobe, chunks of petroglyphs, and automobile parts. Three stories tall, it is a mish-mash of stone walls and adobe held together by a mortar of sand, cement, calcium, and goat's milk. The castle has crenelated parapets, turrets, and a tower.

After Gulley's death in 1945, his wife and child inherited the castle and promptly moved in. His daughter still lives there and today conducts the tours herself. Depression glass dishes form doorway transoms, and an upside-down bathtub serves as the exhaust vent over the kitchen stove. In one room, windows are formed from the wheels of Gulley's Stutz Bearcat, the windshield of which is used as a glass panel in a terrace wall. To get from the parlor to the bedroom, a flight of stairs goes up over a boulder and down the other side so that he wouldn't have to disturb the surrounding landscape. He also hauled sand and rock from over a mile away for the same reason.

I received E-Mail that said:

When we Visited Mystery Castle we were told it was the "Castle that Love Built". When the daughter was 4 years old she ask her Dad if he would build her a castle. When the father found out he had tuberculoses and didn't have long to live if he stay in that climate (Seattle). So he walked all the way to Arizona. Sixteen years later a lawyer contacted the daughter and told her that she owned a castle in Arizona. This was after the dad died. And he never contacted his wife of daughter in all those years.

There is a chapel in the castle. There is a story that goes with the chapel. There is also a cantina. On one of the patios there is a wishing well. You could lower the pail to the cantina with your order and your drink would be sent up in the pail.

Building a castle?  If you need some ideas, you might want to see the real thing in Europe.  There are plenty of hotels in London that are within driving distance to some of the world's most famous castles. If you can't find any hotel deals, you might even be able to stay at one of these castles since many have been converted into hotels and resorts.

Back to "Castles of the United States"

First picture and information courtesy of Phil Bilzor.
Thanks to Tyger Gilbert for sending the second photo.