THE ROCK CASTLE
A Perris Landmark Built in 1928 / 1929
Constructed from 30 tons of river rock 4,000 square feet Probably one of the most famous landmarks of Perris Valley is the mysterious and eye-catching Rock Castle- sometimes referred to as the Hill Top Home.
Located in almost the geographic center of the expanded city limits of Perris CA, this spacious (4,000 sq. feet) home seems to loom over highway 215 as it curves through the city. The Rock Castle's red tile roof is visible from almost any part of town.
The home was erected during 1928 and 1929 by Mr. and Mrs. J.L Ragsdale who operated an oil distribution business and service station at Third and D Streets in Perris. The Ragsdales drove their Model T Ford Truck to Whitewater (between Palm Springs and Banning) where, from the desert washes they selected 30 tons of river rock, each stone chosen for texture, design, color, shape and size. They then loaded the boulders by hand aboard the Model T truck, and hauled them to the highway where they were picked up and transported to the building site by Fred Hare Trucking Company of Perris.
Perhaps a slight idea of the blisters and the back-aches this labor produced may be gained from the knowledge that the lower base of the walls of the building are six feet thick; and, that there was a surplus of these boulders left over after construction. The surplus stones were in great demand and were purchased by a number of local residents for such uses as patio enclosures and fireplaces. By the time the home was completed and ready for occupancy, the country was in the throes of the Great Depression, resulting in the Ragdales selling the property a few years later for $6,500.
During the depression it was auctioned off for $6,500 - now worth over a million dollars. The Castle has had several owners in the past eight decades but has always remained a private residence. The Elickson family lived in the Rock Castle from approximately 1953 until 1961. A Mr. and Mrs. Kriege bought the Castle around 1981-1983. Fred Kriege was a commercial airline pilot and a hot air balloon distributor for Raven Balloons. Mr. Kriege attended ballooning events in his dirigible called Destiny.
In July, 2001 the Rock Castle sold for $920,000. That's up a bit from the Great Depression sale price of $6,500.