Update: Court of Mysteries, aka the Red Castle, sold

March 25, 2016

Some call it the Court of Mysteries, others call it the Red Castle, and some just know it as what’s arguably the most unusual house in Santa Cruz.

It’s been uninhabited and on the market for a remarkably long time, surprising given it’s close proximity to West Cliff Drive. At long last, it’s been purchased, for more than $1.5 million by a San Francisco couple.

It’s definitely got a strange history.

“The creator of the Court of the Mysteries was every bit as eccentric as you’d expect, and then some. That man was Kenneth Kitchen, alternately known as Claire, Clarke or Clarence. Originally from Five Points, Pennsylvania, Kitchen was a slender fellow with dark brown hair and light brown eyes. He arrived in Santa Cruz in 1923, followed by his brother Raymond (also known as Sylvester) in 1929. Kenneth (born in 1888) was a bricklayer, and Raymond (born in 1894) a stonemason, having supposedly acquired their respective skills in Turkey during World War I. Their work can be seen in houses from the 1930s all over Westside Santa Cruz. In spite of their shared passion for bricklaying, it’s rumored that the brothers fought bitterly: According to many of their neighbors at that time, they were seen fist-fighting in the street on more than one occasion.” (Good Times, 2009)


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