In 1919, Charles W. Benedict returned to Riverside, where he lived as a child, and built his dream home, a Spanish style castle he named “Castillo Isabella.” After building for ten years, construction was finished in 1931 and Benedict lived there for seven years until his death in 1938. His wife continued to live at the castle until 1949. The castle was then sold to two individuals who owned it for three years. In 1952, it was sold to a Catholic group, the Servants of Mary (Order of Servites).
In the late 1960s, Teen Challenge’s growth required us to look for larger quarters where young men in our drug addiction recovery program could go for further spiritual training and academic and vocational preparation before re-entering society. In 1970, the castle was listed for sale. The directors of Southern California Teen Challenge heard about the pending sale of the castle and sent representatives to determine if it was a good fit. A series of miracles permitted Teen Challenge to buy the castle in 1971. Miracle number one was that the asking price for the castle was reduced by $100,000, enabling Teen Challenge to purchase the property. Number two was overcoming the concerns of the neighbors and the city of Riverside. Through prayer and the help of local churches, Teen Challenge won the hearts and minds of all who were initially opposed to a residential treatment center in the community.