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Mysterious stone castle on west side a Tucson Oddity

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This is the abandoned stone house at the top of a hill near the end of 36th street trail head, known as "the little castle."

The ruins of an old stone house sit atop a desert hill just north of where West 36th Street ends in a parking lot and splinters into trails through Tucson Mountain Park.

The ground in and around the roofless structure glitters with the greens, blues and browns of glass shards from broken bottles — a stone fireplace is intact in one of the rooms.

Graffitti coating the walls and staircase show that “Pac,” “Alfa,” and “Mob” have been by for a visit, but who built the home and lived there before is somewhat of a mystery.

Although the house is near the boundary of Tucson Mountain Park, the property is privately owned by Frederick C. Frick, an 87-year-old man who lives in Wisconsin and purchased the land in 1973, records show.

“The locals called it the little castle and I was always kind of proud to think that I bought a little castle,” Frick said in a telephone interview.

Frick said he used to visit a friend in Tucson when he was younger and it was during one of those trips he believes he purchased the property, but doesn’t know anything about its history.

The original owner did leave behind one clue: Carved into the concrete near one of the entrances reads “Homesteaded April-21-1928” and beneath that a hard-to-read signature.

A Star reporter deciphered the signature to read “W. Fred Kain,” and Bureau of Land Management records show that a person named W. Fred Kain homesteaded land in Pima County around the same time as the inscription. A death certificate shows a person named William Fred Kain was born in Dallas in 1884and moved to Tucson in 1913, it lists his occupation as attorney. He died in Tucson in 1948.

Now, the home and surrounding area is host to all sorts of nefarious activity.

“That is my single worst area for vandalism in the entire park,” said Tucson Mountain Park manager Mark Brosseau. “There’s a party or there’s vandalism every two or three nights out there.”

Brosseau said the area’s remote location and lack of law enforcement leaves the home and surrounding area prone to vandalism and partying.

Six months ago, there was a party at that spot, he said, “and that Monday guys picked up 240 beer bottles.”

Contact Veronica Cruz at or 573-4203.

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