Mary Lou Gulley, resident princess and proprietress of the Mystery Castle, passed away November 3, 2010. Mary Lou's father, Boyce Luther Gulley, came to Arizona in 1929 unbeknownst to his family, to battle tuberculosis. Over the next several years, he built the Castle, an enduring structure nestled at the base of South Mountain and 7th Street that has come to be a much-loved tourist attraction known the world over. Mary Lou and her mother, Frances Bradford Gulley, came to Phoenix from Seattle upon learning of Mr.Gulley's death in 1945. Their determination, ingenuity, hard work and sacrifice made the Castle into a home for Mary Lou and a memorable attraction for the thousands of adventurous souls who have visited the Castle for over a half century. Mary Lou loved all the visitors and she was a great storyteller; one never was sure what was true and what was "slightly" embellished. Her storytelling was published in 1952, when Mary Lou won the Mark Twain Young Writer's award for her book "My Mystery Castle", out of publication now, but soon to be available again for all to enjoy. Mary Lou had many wonderful friends over the years. There will be an empty spot in our hearts without Mary Lou's wit and charm. Mary Lou knew there would come a time when she would no longer live in the Castle. To ensure the Castle and the spirits of her father, mother, grandmother Florence Fite Bradford, "Uncle" Frank Herberger and all other keepers of the Castle would live on, Mary Lou formed The Mystery Castle Historical Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, to preserve and care for the Castle when she was no longer able to do so. If you wish to honor Mary Lou's memory, contributions may be made to the Mystery Castle Foundation at 522 W. 1st St., Suite 107, Tempe, AZ 85281. Private services are pending. The Castle remains open to the public so that all may explore the wonders that lie behind its magical doors.
Published by The Arizona Republic, December 5, 2010
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