Now is the time to visit Benedict Castle in Riverside

Sorry I didn’t post this story before the fact. Last night we attended the “open house” with tour of the Spanish -Moorish Benedict Castle located off the 91 freeway in Riverside, CA. November 30th was the date selected to provide free tours of this unique 77 year old estate that was decorated to welcome the Christmas holiday season. My guess is that there were somewhere between 500 and 1,000 people taking the tour while listening to groups of carolers singing a selection of festive Christmas music.

Although I have heard of the Teen Challenge, TC, castle in Riverside this was our first visit to the city of Riverside Cultural Heritage Landmark #13 that houses 150 Teen Challenge men who, through the TC drug rehabilitation program, have turned their lives around. Teen Challenge of Southern CA Executive Director Dennis Griffith provided the history of the castle and how Teen Challenge was able to acquire this 15 acre site in the heart of the city of Riverside. You surely cannot miss the Castle as you approach the driveway and see its 90 foot tower.

The castle, which eventually took nearly 10 years to complete, was copied off Castillo Alhambra a castle that Charles Benedict saw while visiting in Spain.

As I read the brochure I discovered that this property has been the location for several movies including the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Two on a Guillotine and Greatest Story Ever Told.

If you enjoy riding around with your family looking at decorated houses over the next few weeks this is one stop I strongly recommend be included in your travels.

The Castle of Teen Challenge is open to the public and can be rented for special events. For directions and further information on the castle or the Teen Challenge Ministry simply call 951.683.4241.
Teen Challenge is “the largest non profit charitable endeavor of its kind with 150 centers in the USA and an additional 160 locations in seventy foreign countries.”

PS: If you do go to see the castle, and I strongly urge you to take the trip, you are but a few miles from the Mission Inn that we also visited to see their Christmas decorations. While there you might even take one of the horse drawn carriage rides.

About Larry Gilbert