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Free To Follow His Dreams

There are many ways for Americans to show their pride in their country. Some do it by flying the flag. Others do it through acts of charity. But Jim Bishop in Colorado shows his love of country through hard work. He shows what any American can accomplish with his own two hands.

Bishop Castle is located about 150-miles south of Denver Colo. Visitors are free to explore this graceful blend of stone and iron. And it's easy to agree on the castle's most striking feature.

The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler reports it is not the fire-breathing dragon-head chimney. It's not the grand ballroom, illuminated by stained glass. It's not even the castle's beautiful birds-eye view of the San Isabel National Forest.

What's most impressive about Bishop Castle is the fact that it was built by just one person, Jim Bishop, over the last thirty years. Why did he do it? For Bishop, it's just a very "American" thing to do.

"People defeat themselves a whole lot, just by thinking too much," he says. "If you get an idea, and you're interested in it, go for it. That's what a free country's all about. My idea is to see how long I can live, what I can build, and 'til my dying day, bigger and better. So I don't wan to be done anytime soon because I don't wan to be dead anytime soon."

Castle visitor Jim Starika says, "The man has some kind of superpower to have done all this by himself."

And the castle's evolving stages keep the tourists coming back.

Eldon Cleaver, another visitor says, "For myself, I couldn't start something that could take more than thirty days. And to take thirty years, yeah, it's unbelievable."

Even after thirty years, "Bishop Castle" is still a work in progress. The tallest tower is still wrapped in scaffolding.

Among the improvements Bishop is still working on a hydraulic elevator, an escalator that runs on a track along the castle's sidewall and a metal-framed globe resting on top of one tower designed to rotate in the wind, soon to be covered with mirrors.

"Can you imagine all these mirrors, flashing sunlight into deep space? An alien attraction tower!" Bishop says.

Bishop does have a day job, working with wrought iron. But the castle's ongoing construction is funded mostly by donations from visitors.

About his castle Bishop says, "right now you might think, well, why does he let people climb on it? There are a lot of places where they can fall. It's basically safe because it is dangerous. People can sense the danger, and they hang on. There's no deception here!"

Now 59 years old, Bishop admits the castle will never really be completed as long as he has the energy to climb its walls.

Bishop says, "What I feel here is a great sense of pride in using my God-given talents to the best of my ability. The building, the work. To accomplish something with or without money. As a free man in a free country. And everybody's got God-given talents. Of all kinds and of all different sorts. Use them. Use your God-given talents. That's what I'm doing here."

If you visit Bishop Castle in the coming years, you might find a moat or maybe a huge sculpture on top of one of the towers. Those are just two of the many plans Bishop has to keep his castle growing and to keep his American Dream alive.

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