Cano’s Castle – One Man, Mary Jane and God
Just off the highway, in the small run-down town of Antonito, Colorado, there is a giant pile of junk that one man has transformed into a temple. Welcome to Cano’s Castle!
Located six miles north of the New Mexico Border, two blocks off Highway 285 (Main Street), sits this magnificent piece of architecture and residence. Since the early 1980’s Cano Espinoza has been collecting other people’s junk and creating a masterpiece for God, that’s right I said God.
Weird, spectacular, out of this world, no matter what you think of this creation there’s one thing for sure: Love it or hate it, this castle is like no other. From the King and Queen towers rising what appears to be 40 feet high to the glass bottle windows and of course the ‘all-seeing eye which hangs outside the gate, this is one crazy roadside attraction. Under constant construction for over 30 years, it’s like a more affordable, recycled version of Gaudi’s famous La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.
Cano saw us walking around taking photos and came outside to greet us. He offered up an inkjet-printed photograph of what the castle looks like when the flowers are blooming. We offered up a small donation and he invited us into his home to share a few more photographs and religious relics. He tells us stories of how he began the temple, how he doesn’t drink or smoke tobacco, and then he says “I only smoke Mary Jane”. Ahhhh that explains a lot! “I built the temple while high, Mary Jane is my artistic inspiration and brings me closer to God.”
On our way out things got a little weird: Cano started talking about marching on Washington, reclaiming the Espinoza’s wealth and land…then he told us he is living proof that “one can live on bread alone (as he’s holding up a piece of bubbly, rubbery, unleavened wheat bread), just like it says in the bible, I am Living Proof!”, he went on to talk about white leavened bread being the demise of our culture since the medieval times, how women today can’t cook because they are not properly taught how to shop, and most importantly how women should only birth children and be in the kitchen as that is their divine right…..this went on for about 20 minutes as we slowly, and uncomfortably, shuffled back towards the front door.
“Thank you so much for visiting, have a blessed day”, and just like that he was gone. We just stood there outside his front door in awe, did that really just happen?!?
We walked back to the RV in silence, put away the camera, started the engine, and continued on our route towards Taos. After all, it’s just another strangely wonderful day in this unsedentary way of life.