My first time being close to Shea's castle was in the early 70's when I lived with my foster parents the Boyd's. Mr. Boyd would take us up there on a summer night to listen to the skeletons walking around the castle grounds. He would tell us a story of Mr and Mrs. Shea walking around their castle. Years later I learned it was just the wood chimes at the castle.
Today is my first time on the grounds and in the Castle itself. Along with 15 other Realtors we got to roam the grounds and the castle and hear some fascinating history about this place right in the mist of our own Antelope Valley.Shea's Lodge or as most people in the Antelope Valley know of it Shea's castle was built in 1924. The Castle is a stone replica of a Medieval Irish Castle. Built by Richard Peter Shea. Mr. Shea purchased 506 acres on the very west side of Lancaster off of Munz Ranch Road. This place was a labor of love for the love of his life, his wife Ellen Shea. Mr. Shea was a real estate investor who had done very well. He sold properties he had in Los Angeles such as Hancock Park which he sold for $56 million, He took that money and bought the 506 acres in Lancaster, California and took $175,000 to build Shea's Lodge, which had 8 bedrooms,7 bathrooms,7 fireplaces and 2 kitchens. He hired 100 local labors to quarry thousands of tons of granite from boulders on the land. They built the 20ft high stone dam backed up by the man made 10 acre lake, they also built the stable to look like a castle , and the castle itself and guest house.
In 1929 Mr. Shea was affected by the Stock Market crash. his finance's ruined. The Shea's borrowed against the castle but soon the bank took it over. In October of 1932 Mrs. Shea died from pernicious anemia and other complications. Two months later Mr. Shea walked into the Ocean and drowned. His body was found in the surf near Venice Pier. On his body they found a small container of his wife's ashes, he was 57 years old.
The castle has had 15 owners and renters in the last 5 decades. Roy Rogers trained his famous horse Trigger at the castle. There was also the notorious millionaire playboy Tommy Stewert Lee that owned the castle in 1948. Mr. Lee had some mental issues and his family had him declared mentally incompetent. He left the castle never to return, he jumped off a building in Los Angeles in 1950 and died.
In later years the castle has been used for movies such as" Dracula's Castle", and lots of episodic television, and tons of commercials and music videos.
So here we are 15 Realtors on this beautiful June 10th in 2011 touring the castle and grounds because once again it is up for sale. I am not sure but if you stand real still and listen I think you can hear those wood chimes from many years ago.
If you know someone looking for a castle give me a call.