Arizona January 12, 2017
Most People Don’t Know About The Mystery Castle In Arizona And It’s Truly Enchanting
Building a house with your own two hands for a loved one is a rare occurrence these days. You have to admit that taking the time to create something to last decades takes major dedication and a whole lot of love. Today we’re going to take a look at one incredible home built by hand just 80 years ago.
This is Mystery Castle, a sprawling 18-room home located in the foothills of South Mountain Park in Phoenix.
Dating to the 1930s, the home has always possessed an air of mystery to Phoenix residents, lending to the common name we know it as today.
Mystery Castle is one of the 33 Phoenix Points of Pride, showing the best and most unique landmarks the city has to offer visitors.
But, before we go any further, let's get into the story behind the building.
Shortly after being diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1927, Boyce Luther Gulley decided to leave Seattle and his family for the dry, sunny skies of Arizona.
It’s likely that Gulley assumed he would die from the disease (it was the leading cause of death in the early 20th century) and opted not to tell his family where he was going or if he would ever return before he quickly left. This obviously left his wife and child, Frances and Mary Lou, heartbroken, something that Mary Lou would comment on in her memoir.
When in Phoenix, Gulley eventually recovered, acquired some land, and began building a house that he could pass on to his family in the event of his death.
Inspired by the sandcastles he and his daughter, Mary Lou, built back home in Washington, Gulley began building a house made of found materials: bottles, stones, adobe, phone poles, railroad tracks, and a plethora of other items.
Over the years, the house grew into an 18-room home reminiscent of a castle, complete with bedrooms, a chapel, and even a dungeon.
During this time, Gulley maintained some level of contact with his family through telegrams, although he never disclosed where he was or why he left.
In 1945, Gulley died, leaving behind a legacy of mystery and love.
It’s interesting to note that during this time period, the area around the home experienced a slow development as homes and businesses began encroaching the area. What was once an area far off from the rest of Phoenix eventually became a spot that intrigued neighbors and people passing through.
Shortly afterwards, Frances and Mary Lou were notified of not only Gulley’s death but also of what he left behind for them.
The sprawling 8,000 square foot castle with twists and turns and hidden surprises in every room slowly began to make up for the years spent without a husband and father. In 1948, Life Magazine published a story about the home and the Gulleys began offering tours.
The Mystery Castle is located at 800 East Mineral Road in Phoenix. You can find details for tours on their website,
mymysterycastle.com. Tours are only available certain months of the year and only on Thursday through Sunday. Double check times and availability on the website before making the journey for an inside tour. Admission is $10 adults, $5 children ages 5-12.
Want to see another incredibly unique home right here in Arizona? Check out our article,
There’s No House In The World Like This One In Arizona, about a Frank Lloyd Wright original.