Today's sojourn wasn't very far at all because this unusual place is located right here in my home town of Phoenix Arizona. I'm talking about Mystery Castle, a place located at the base of south mountain that many Phoenicians don't even know about.
Back in the 1930's, Boyce Luther Gulley of Seattle Washington learned that he had tuberculosis, a diagnosis that changed his life forever. Rather than whither away in front of his friends and loved ones, he decided to head to a more arid climate and ended up in Phoenix Arizona. It was here that he started to build a castle for his daughter Mary Lou. As the story goes, neither Gulley's wife nor his daughter knew where he was so they had no idea that this endeavor was under way in the desert southwest.
Gulley constructed his castle from found objects and inexpensive materials. The whole thing is held together with cement, mortar, calcium and goats milk. It's constructed of stone, adobe, old auto parts and rail tracks and telephone poles.
The building is two stories high with several patios and outdoor spaces.
All sorts of odd things can be seen embedded in the walls along with colorful, hand-painted tiles.
Gulley died in 1945 and Mary Lou and her mother were notified that they had inherited property in Phoenix Arizona. This was a surprise to them but, they packed up and moved to the their new home.
A writer from Life magazine heard about the castle and wrote a story for the magazine about it and the mystery that surrounded it. That story brought attention to the place and Mary Lou and her mother soon started giving tours of the place in order to make some money. Mary Lou continued the tours even after her mother passed away.
In fact, Mary Lou conducted tours of the place right up to her death in 2010. The property is now owned and operated by the Mystery Castle Foundation and tours continue to be given but only in the winter months.
To the left is a portrait of Boyce Luther Gulley that is located inside the castle.