An immense stone building at the base of Mount Woodson, on the outskirts of Ramona, is a landmark known locally as the Amy Strong Castle, although it hasn’t been Strong’s home for more than 70 years. The castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Amy Strong was a noted modiste at the turn of the 19th century. She was a dressmaker for San Diego’s elite society, often making trips to Europe to purchase fancy silks and specialty materials to make their dresses.
While she was touring Europe, Strong noticed the unique architecture of the castles, and she set her heart on having one of her own.
There have been several owners since Strong moved away from the area in 1940 but, overall, the castle remains the same as it was on the day she moved in.
Strong purchased 40 acres near Mount Woodson and worked with architects Emmor B. Weaver and John Vawter to design her dream house. Strong was actively involved in its construction and in choosing the landscape that surrounds the building.
Construction began in 1916 but was interrupted by World War I. The castle was finally finished in 1921 at a cost of $50,000.
Strong and her architects incorporated the Craftsman style along with European influences in the design. A Dutch windmill provided water for the 27-room, 12,000- square-foot, multilevel castle.
Native Americans from Mesa Grande made the adobe bricks on the site. Strong used lumber from the oak, eucalyptus and redwood trees on her property. She selected the rocks, large and small, that were used in the building.
Today, the castle is privately owned and is used for weddings and private events. For additional details, visit mtwoodsoncastle.com