Old Castle Ranch (Woreland Castle) (1893)

Historic Home: 29360 Pamoosa Lane, Valley Center

Isaac Jenkinson Frazee, an artist, poet and writer who specialized in Indian subjects, moved to Valley Center’s Moosa Canyon in 1890 and built what has come to be known as the Castle on Old Castle Road.

Frazee wanted to create a replica of an ancient feudal castle that was the home of his Scottish ancestors. With the help of a Scottish mason, in 1893 he built a turret with three levels and walls three feet thick. The stone tower is said to be patterned after Dunnottar Castle near Aberdeen, Scotland, which dates from the 12th Century.

Frazee originally called his castle home Warland to acknowledge a famous gunfight which took place nearby in 1888, but later altered the name to the more harmonious sounding Woreland Castle. With his wife Bettie, Frazee raised seven children at the castle.

In a natural amphitheater below the castle, the family staged an Indian-themed musical pageant in 1915 and 1916 which attracted several thousand people to the 160-acre site. Sunset magazine called it “one of the most remarkable outdoor pageants in all of California”. In 1921, the fame of the pageant had spread to Laguna Beach where the local art colony asked Frazee to reproduce the show to raise funds for a new art gallery. The production evolved into the famed “Pageant of the Masters.” The Frazees moved to Laguna Beach in 1927 where Isaac died in 1942.

The castle remained unoccupied until the late 1930s when the property was acquired by Wheaton College, a private religious school near Chicago. Wheaton sold the castle in 1942 to Mr. and Mrs. Guy Whitmore who added three side rooms with modern conveniences. The castle changed hands again in 1956 when it was purchased by Ty and Audrey Flory.

In 1958, the castle was sold to industrialist Carl Lien and his wife Orpha. They also acquired nearly 500 acres surrounding the property. The Liens incorporated the original castle into a larger home of 4,400 square feet which retains the medieval environment. The Liens later divided the property among their three children: Neil, Jere and Marcia. The latter, Marcia Lien Wrisley and her husband L. Norton Wrisley, Jr. have lived in the castle since 1987. They have seven children.

The old castle sits in a picturesque 160-acre setting in a valley of old oak trees and a 60-foot waterfall that empties into Moosa Creek. The area known today as Moosa Canyon was originally called Pamoosa Canyon or Valley. Pamoosa is an Indian word meaning “long beard”. A bearded face is said to be visible in the rock falls. Postal authorities altered the name in the early 1900s. Carl Lien restored the historic name Pamoosa to the street leading the property.