SAM'S CASTLE

I received E-Mail that said:

This castle is owned by a man by the last name of Mazza, Sam. Was brought to Pacifica area by a gentleman from England for his wife.

I later found more information that indicated that the castle was built in 1908 and consists of 20 rooms. Sam Mazza bought the castle in 1958. The castle is a private residence. It is not open to the public, but it can be seen from the Sharp Park State Beach area.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I remember a castle in Pacifica, California but then (in about 1957 or so) the area was called Sharp Park. I would pass the castle going from my parents' house which was on Paloma Drive to my friends house. While I've never been in the castle, I did trick-or-treat the residence on Halloween. I remember knocking on a huge door and after the door opened you could see a suit of armor in the foyer. Also, there was a staircase in the middle of the foyer which I presume went to a basement. There was a handrail around the staircase. The castle was built on the side of a hill, east of California Route 1 and overlooked the Pacific Ocean.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I am curious about Sam's Castle in Sharp Park, Pacifica, California. I grew up there and I used to cruise by that edifice many times a week. We all did.

Along time ago I worked with "Tommy" Mazza. The grandson or the great grandson of Sam Mazza. Tom told us about a Holloween party that he held there as a teenager. It was a great story!

My partners "ancient" story teller relative is telling her that his family owned it and has discounted the Mazza family all together. The name of the story teller is McCloskey and according to his version of the story his grandfather bought the property and built the castle. I think that he is fabricating material.

Can you shed any light on this subject or direct me on a course so that I may discover more information about this property. I would simply like to know if any McCloskey family members had anything to do with that property during the 1900's and what was the duration of the title held my friend and I would get a kick out of this information.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

Here's a little info on the Castle.
I lived there as a boy, from age 8 to age 13. That was from 1953 to 1958. What a great place to live. My dad was a sculptor and had a workshop there, and in Daly City where he produced products for advertising firms.

We were all interested in the history of the Sharp Park Castle (what it was known as in the 50's) and I believe my Mother did some research at the local library on it's past. We had many friends that seemed to all have a bit of history to add. I know it well because I had about 5 years to explore.

During WW II there were 100 men from the Coast Guard stationed there and of course there was some damage from that. Rumors have it that it was also a 'House of Ill Repute', and that's probably right. I noticed that each room had a doorbell on the inside. Most of the bedrooms had their own bathrooms, or a shared one. I can recall about 20 rooms, and at least 7 bathrooms. A large one probably installed for the Coast Guard just off the living room. I remember it had a large lead lined shower. I don't remember if the four tower rooms had sinks, possibly so. I had 5 different bedrooms while living there.

I remember when we moved in that my Dad found a bottle of whisky in the cellar, probably left over from the bootlegging days. He said we must never drink it as it could be poison. After a while the bottle was empty. He said it was the best whisky he'd ever tasted.

The inside of the Castle was redwood paneling and the floors were lemon wood. Ceilings were about 10 feet and curved to the walls. Lot's of built in cabinetry with leaded glass.

About 10 years ago I was in the area and happened to be there when the owner came by. It was Sam Mazza and he was a little standoffish when I approached the main gate. I'm sure they get lots of snoops. I know when we lived there we'd be having lunch or dinner and look out and see strangers wandering around the garden. We ended up charging admission on weekends for tours. Anyway, I spoke with Sam and introduced myself. When I started to tell him about secret doors and rooms and details even he didn't know, he invited me in for a tour.

I noticed much had changed, and the beautiful built in cabinetry in the living room had been torn out. The table my dad made for my mom (from a piano) was still there as was some of the other furniture. The garden was totally redone.

He told me that just before he bought the Castle that a mad sculptor lived there with a retarded son. The son would terrorize the town folks, run home to the Castle and his father would hide him in this secret compartment in one of the hallway overheads. I laughed at this, telling him that I guess I was the retarded son, and it was indeed me that discovered the secret hiding place. Amazing how rumors get started.

All I know is I lived there for about 5 years with my family and attended Sharp Park school. We had the best Halloweens there and possibly one or more of your readers was escorted by me through the Castle when trick-r-treating. We could have bought the place for 25k, but that was a lot of money in the 50's. Sam bought it right after we moved away. Prior to us living there, a caretaker named Barry was watching it. Prior to that an old woman named Annie Eakin lived there with her 20 cats. I think she died there. There was a mound on one of the terraces that was supposed to be the grave of a priest who died there and wished to be buried on the grounds. I don't know if that was a fact.

Lots of spooky things went on there. Sounds at night, lights being turned on and off. I had a few things scare me and my mother said she saw a ghost one day coming down the hallway. Mom was a no-nonsense gal. When she said that, we all listened.

Oh, it was indeed built by McClosky in 1908. The materials were brought by horse and wagon from San Francisco. Rumors of a bootleggers tunnel to the beach I'm sure are false. I looked for it. That would have been about 4 miles long. No way. I remember some visitors telling us that it was built as a smaller replica of a Castle in either Scotland or Ireland to make his bride feel at home. Don't know if that's true.

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I'm so happy to see Sam's Castle again! I was there when I was a little girl. My father, a former Sergeant in the Pacifica Police Dept., had somehow known Sam Mazza and had claimed to have moved a full-view mirror, framed of gold, into the castle (saw the mirror, and knowing my dad - I don't doubt the boast). At one point my sister had to do a book report for school and Mr. Mazza opened the castle to my family to explore. 30+ years later, it's still unforgettable!

Later, I received E-Mail that said:

I live in Pacifica, CA and have visited the castle many times. Pete McClosky's grandfather did indeed build "The Castle" after the San Francisco earthquake. He was so terrified of the quake that I understand the foundation is built with, would they call them pilings, so deep into the hill that the whole hill would have to come down before the castle would ever fall.

Sam Mazza passed away a couple of months ago. I don't know what will become of the castle now. It is truly one of our "landmarks".

On 4-25-11, I received e-mail that said:

I'm excited to let you know my book on Sam's Castle is now available! People can email me for a signed copy at bridget_oates@yahoo.com or they can get a glimpse of it online on the Arcadia site:
http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=9780738574868&Store_Code=arcadia&search=sam%27s+castl e&offset=0&filter_cat=&PowerSearch_Begin_Only=&sort=name.asc&range_low=&range_high=%20%26srch_name%3D 1

On 8-14-11, I received e-mail that said:

Here's an update on Sam's Castle:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/13/MN2D1KMQI8.DTL

Back to "Castles of the United States"

Thanks to Joe O'Brien for sending the information.