If you’re traveling to Phoenix and you want to see something that’s a little different I would highly recommend going to Mystery Castle.
After my friends and I spent a few hours at the Peach Blossom Celebration, we headed back to Phoenix and ended up on the outskirts of the city right in front of a castle. It doesn’t look like much when you first walk up to it, but just wait for it…
This place is crazy!! It’s literally made of almost anything you can imagine. Plus, if you think of the most random item, it’s probably in there.
So what exactly is Mystery Castle? Well, it’s a home made by Boyce Luther Gulley for his daughter Mary Lou. You see, Boyce was living in Seattle when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. And how did he deal with the news? He left his wife and daughter and moved to Phoenix. But while he was there, he started building a castle for his little girl; his princess. This was in the 1930s. He used all kinds of materials, from mortar and goats milk to railroad tracks and telephone poles. In total, the castle has 18 rooms, 13 fireplaces, a chapel, a bar area, and a dungeon.
Unfortunately, Boyce passed away in 1945, before he had sent for his family. They didn’t even know about the house until an attorney notified them that they had inherited the property. Soon after, Mary Lou and her mother moved in. To earn a living, Mary Lou (an adult by this point) starting giving tours of her castle. The castle became pretty well known and was even featured in Life Magazine.
Mary Lou continued to give tours until she passed away in 2010. The property is now taken care of by The Mystery Castle Foundation, which also provides tours. The tours are about an hour long and very informative. We had two tour guides, one for the 1st floor and one for the 2nd floor.
As I walked around the home, I was just amazed at the stuff that had been collected over the years. No lie, it reminded me of the TV show Hoarders. As we walked from room to room, I told my friends that if I ever gathered even a fraction of what was there, they had my permission to do an intervention.
Like I said, Mystery Castle is definitely out of the norm, but that’s what makes it a must see if you want to do something different while you’re in Phoenix. And it’s a castle. Who doesn’t like castles??
Address: 800 E Mineral Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85042
Tour Hours: 11am to 4pm, Thursday through Sunday
Admission: $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12
*Only open from October through May. Trust me, you don’t want to be there during the summer months. There’s no AC!
**Unfortunately, Mystery Castle is not wheelchair accessible