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Mystery Castle

Mystery Castle is a unique and fascinating landmark located in Phoenix, Arizona. This architectural oddity was built by Boyce Luther Gulley for his daughter Mary Lou Gulley.

The castle is located at:

800 E Mineral Rd,
Phoenix, AZ 85042,
United States


Boyce Luther Gulley was diagnosed with tuberculosis in the 1930s. Leaving his wife and daughter in Seattle, he moved to Phoenix due to the city’s reputation for healthier air. He started building the Mystery Castle using found and recycled materials, with the dream of creating a castle for his daughter.

Gulley never told his family where he was, and they thought he had died. But after his actual death in 1945, they discovered he had left them the castle. His daughter, Mary Lou, lived in the castle until she died in 2010, offering tours of the property.


The castle is a 3-story structure made from a variety of materials, including stone, adobe, automobile parts, and petrified wood. It features 18 rooms and 13 fireplaces, along with a chapel, a dungeon, and several parapets. The decor inside is as eclectic as the building materials, with Native American artifacts, antique furniture, and personal mementos on display.


The Mystery Castle is open for guided tours, giving visitors a chance to explore this unique building. Tours provide insights into the history of the castle, its unconventional construction, and the life of the Gulley family.

Please note that the castle is typically closed during the summer months, so it’s wise to check the current schedule before planning a visit.

The Builder and His Vision

Boyce Luther Gulley was an artist and builder at heart. He constructed the castle without blueprints, using mainly native stone and other repurposed materials. His vision for the castle was inspired by the castles from the fairy tales he used to tell his daughter, and he wanted to create a similarly magical place for her.

Unique Construction Materials

The castle’s eclectic construction materials are part of what makes it so unique. Gulley used a mix of traditional and unconventional materials, including native stone, cement, and caliche—a type of soil rich in calcium carbonate. He also incorporated a variety of recycled materials, such as car parts, rail tracks, telephone poles, petrified wood, and even old dishes.

Interior Decor and Artifacts

The interior of the castle is as intriguing as the exterior. It’s filled with an eclectic mix of items, ranging from Southwestern Native American artifacts and relics to personal family mementos. Some rooms contain antique furniture, while others showcase Gulley’s own handmade items. His daughter, Mary Lou, preserved the interior much as her father left it, adding to the castle’s charm and historical authenticity.

The “Mother Eve” Petroglyph

One of the most noteworthy features of the castle is a petroglyph known as “Mother Eve.” This ancient rock carving, which depicts a woman, was found on the property and incorporated into the castle’s construction. It’s one of many elements that reflect Gulley’s appreciation for Native American culture and history.

Visiting Mystery Castle

Visiting Mystery Castle is like stepping back in time. The guided tours offer a detailed look at the castle’s unique architecture and decor, as well as insights into the lives of its builders and residents. Visitors often describe the experience as being like exploring a real-life fairy tale castle.


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