Phoenix, Arizona: Mystery CastleBoyce Luther Gulley started building the 5-story castle out of junk in 1930, in secret, as a gift to his daughter Mary Lou. She conducted tours until her death Nov. 3, 2010; the Mystery Castle Historical Foundation continues.
Visitor Tips and News About Mystery Castle
Took a tour of Mystery Castle the first Saturday of October 2004. Miss Gulley is now in her early eighties and still gives half of the tour. The other guide told us more interesting dope than Gulley did. For example, no one is allowed in her bedroom. One woman insisted and Gulley replied, "Even Clark Gable didn't get in there." Marilyn Monroe, however, according to the guide, was allowed up to the bedroom. Ron Reagan took a tour of the house when he was a movie star. President Eisenhower received a tour of the house when he was in the White House. President Clinton showed up at the gate with Secret Service in tow and Miss Gulley, who had the flu, turned them away. For $5 it's a big bang for the buck.[Barb, 11/29/2004]
The house was built by Boyce Luther Gulley, who died in 1945, over a 15 year period before he could send for his family. It has 18 rooms, 13 fireplaces, and numerous parapets but, until recently, no water or electricity. Take Central Avenue to two miles south of Baseline Road, then east on Mineral Road to the castle entrance. Mary Lou Gulley, who still lives there, gives entertaining tours. I love eccentrics.[Ron Glantz, 04/05/2004]
The daughter is still spry and giving tours. She is sharp as a nail and remembers who has paid their $5 or not. She gives half the tour and another lady gives the other half. Giving the tours and having weddings at the castle is her bread and butter. The castle is not that far from the airport and only takes a little while to tour so it makes a great stop if you have extra time before your flight. There is a great Mexican food place called Panchos that is fairly close nearby.[Michelle, 04/07/2001]
We visited the Phoenix Mystery Castle 6/2/00. To add a bit more info: the gentleman who built it left Seattle and his family as he had Tuberculosis and did not want to go into a sanitorium. He did, in fact, build the house for his daughter, who still lives there and is still conducting the tours. There is a plethora of early Arizona artifacts including items given as gifts by Senator Barry Goldwater. Best to visit in the winter months. The house is closed to visitors mid-June to October. It was a bit warm when we visited. A stop well worth making.[Richard and Betty Wood, 06/04/2000]
No trip to Phoenix would be complete without a trip to the Mystery Castle, located on the southern edge of town. The "Castle" is really a home, roughly 50-some years old, constructed of materials the builder scavenged and scrounged from his desert surroundings, to create an incredible living space.
It seems that the builder lived back east somewhere, and for some unknown reason just up and left his family (wife and daughter?) in the mid-40's and disappeared. He apparently ended up in Phoenix and began construction of the "Castle". Many years later, he passed-away (I can't remember if he ever had any further contact with his family) and his daughter inherited and began living in the "Castle." If my memory is correct, the story was that he actually built the "Castle" for her.
It's been several years since I've been there, but when we were there, the daughter was still living there and conducting tours.[Paul Williams, 01/04/1998]
We visited in the mid-1980s, and the daughter was giving tours, shown here. To tell the truth, we don't remember many details, other that it was over 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade. Wish we had jumpsuits like hers...
- 800 E Mineral Rd, Phoenix, AZ
- I-10 exit 155. East on Baseline Rd for 5.5 miles. Turn south onto 7th St. for 1.5 miles. At the end of the street, turn left onto Mineral Rd to get to the Castle. Golf courses and gated communities are being built up to the edge of the Mystery Castle desert property.
- Th-Su, 11 am - 4 pm. Oct-Jun. Closed on very rainy days. Steep Steps. (Call to verify)
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour