Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Mystery Castle--a Phoenix Staycation Must See

Taking my kids on a field trip was high on my list of things to do during Spring Break. High enough that we went last week just after they got out of school.  My husband Ace had read about this Mystery Castle.  Located at the foothills of South Mountain Park. It seemed like the perfect excursion for a family who loves using natural resources..and appreciates art.  It's built 100% out of recycled stuff...and natural stuff. One thing we couldn't find until we got there was how much it would be to tour the place. So, just for you..
Right away I noticed this wagon wheel uses as a window. Oh my gosh. I fell in love.
 It's amazing! Upon closer's even more surprising. There are a million little nooks and crannies with astounding use of recycled material.

 This window caught my eye right away. Look at that's old glass fridge containers!
 The builder made this house out of nothing. Literally what he found in the dessert an what he was able to purchase amazingly cheap from junk dealers. Out of it, he built a monument of love for his daughter.

 In all of the rooms, natural light is used.
 Okay, I need one of these.
 Bunk beds are built right into the sides of the walls and the natural use of the land.
 I was really impressed with how thick the walls are...and the amazing use of natural light. This is the inside of that window I showed you...with the fridge glass.

The Mystery Castle was built in the 1930s by Boyce Luther Gulley (died 1945) for his daughter Mary Lou Gulley.  Point of interest here..Life Magazine story (January 26, 1948) [1]  was done on the Mystery Castle and this is the metal alligator that guarded the door to the "mystery" treasure to be opened by the daughter Mary Lou. You'll have to go take the tour to see what the treasure was. I was almost moved to tears.
 Perhaps one of the most exciting things for my kids to see...were the rocks. Face has a rock fixation. I'm okay with it. I'm sure he'll be an amazing man. But when he saw rocks turned into art...his giant brain took off! He was talking non-stop about what he could do with rocks at home.  The Pet rock collection was quite extensive there.
 I'm not kidding.
The work with the mortar and stones is intense.

 Really...who uses tires in their walls? I think everyone should.

 Boyce left little notes in nooks and crannies for his daughter as well.  Can you imagine Mary Lou opening this to see a note from her dad in the kitchen?
 I wasn't kidding about the pet rocks. That's a rock.
 The old kitchen...
 A table out of copper coiling...
 The dumb waiter "well" that goes from the patio upstairs to the "bar" below.

 We are making some of these! Wind chimes out of forks and spoons?! Every chef should have one.

Through this little window on the patio you can see Phoenix.

 In the play room there were some really cool things too.
Go see the Mystery Castle . We had an outstanding, inspiring time. Now...I need to go make some wind chimes.


Angela said...

That is very cool. Just had to let you know I have a silverware wind chime my mom made me. Real similar to that one. I've never seen one anywhere else.

aswesow said...

That is so neat!

steve said...

I have lived in AZ for 25 years and have never heard of The Mystery Castle. Unfortunately we just moved to Tx so I won't be able to go anytime soon. What a cool house I wish I would have known about it.

Salsa Mama said...

Thanks for sharing this! I have never heard of it either. Making plans to go...