Phoenix, Arizona: Mystery Castle

Boyce Luther Gulley built a five-story castle out of junk from 1930-1945, in secret, as a gift to his daughter Mary Lou. She moved in after he died, and gave tours until her death in 2010. The Mystery Castle Historical Foundation now keeps it open for visitors.

800 E. Mineral Rd, Phoenix, AZ
I-10 exit 155. West 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 built up to the edge of the Mystery Castle desert property.
Oct.-May Th-Su 11-4. Tours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $10, children $5
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About Mystery Castle

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Mystery Castle.

Mystery Castle

Peculiar and eclectic -- house was featured in a documentary that won an Emmy, and in many magazines like Life - posted in the house to read. $10 admission, $5 for kids, cash only.

[Joanna Bryn, 11/06/2018]
Mystery Castle

Try to get there as early as possible, or go on cool days. It was insanely hot and there is some time where we were waiting in the sun for the tour to continue as others shopped or looked around (museum shop stop is in the middle of the tour).

Be careful if you have balance issues or have trouble walking as well, I saw several people tripping.

[Ak, 05/01/2018]
Mystery Castle

This attraction has become a business and the admission charge has doubled. What once may have been interesting has now become a tourist rip-off. I was less than pleased with this tour.

[G. Clouse, 03/04/2012]
Mystery Castle - Mary Lou Gulley Passed Away

I'm sad to report that Mary Lou Gulley passed away on Nov 3, 2010. It sounds like a foundation is going to continue to make the Castle available for tours. I'm just glad that my family was lucky enough back in the day, to have Mary Lou as our guide as we visited her home/castle.

[Paul Williams, 12/21/2010]

The Mystery Castle Historical Foundation plans to continue tours.

Mystery Castle.

Mystery Castle

I have been to the house three times and listened to what the tour guides had to say, so here is the basic story behind the house:

The man that built it had a wife and daughter in Seattle, came down with tuberculosis, and made the decision to come to Arizona, partly because that's what people with TB did back in those days. Phoenix was a mecca for people with TB (the area now known as Sunnyslope in north Phoenix had its beginnings as a hospital camp for TB patients and their families).

He built the house and spent many years adding on -- my guess is he was like me and liked to stay busy and express himself. I think this is what brought him back to health. He was an artist and his house became one huge work of art. He built it with his daughter in mind as well and this is evident in many of the choices he made in construction. He actually recovered from TB after several years, but didn't return home to his family. Ironically he died of cancer shortly after recovering from TB.

Much of the things you see used in construction came from a dump that was nearby. He was very creative with materials and really ahead of his time in some cases; there are some windows made out of square glass dishes and it strongly resembles glass block like we see today in many homes. There is also a cemetery, wishing well,and chapel in the house.

I loved the tour and loved the man's daughter who still lives in the house. If you go, don't go to see a castle or a house -- go to see a work of art that functions as a home, and go to hear this family story.

[Richard, 11/07/2007]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Moffles - Auto Parts ManMoffles - Auto Parts Man, Phoenix, AZ - 3 mi.
Wall of Road SignsWall of Road Signs, Phoenix, AZ - 6 mi.
Phoenix Police MuseumPhoenix Police Museum, Phoenix, AZ - 6 mi.
In the region:
Hole-in-the-Rock, Phoenix, AZ - 10 mi.

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