The History of the Castile Canyon School

The property was first settled at the turn of twentieth century when the railroad came west. A family acquired the property next to the Soboba Indian Reservation and built a Victorian style main house which is still standing today. They planted orchards and harvested oranges, peaches, apricots, walnuts and plums. At that time a river ran through the property making it lush and green.

“Castile was the smallest of the canyons, but a very pretty spot.  This was our favorite area when we had company picnics,” described local historian Evelyn Coe Wilson. “Besides the usual lush greenery, the small stream fell into a waterfall forming a pool, which was a delightful spot for a small boy, a willow stick and a bent pin.”

In the late 1930’s a 9 mile-long aqueduct was built through the San Jacinto Mountains which drained the water from the Soboba Reservation and Castile Canyon. In the 1940’s the river dried up, becoming merely an occasional creek except during heavy storms.

After that, the Campbell family, of Campbell Soup fame, bought the property and used it as a ranch. The Campbell House sitting on the eastern edge of the land still retains their name.

In 1956, the Campbell family donated the ranch to the Catholic Church who used it as a nunnery. The property was sold by the Catholic Church to Melody Ranch Academy.

In 1976, the land was sold to the Church of the Ataraxia and it became the Singing Hearts religious retreat.

The Church of Scientology purchased the property in 1981. It was initially used as a facility to house some of the staff from Golden Era Productions and then became the Castile Canyon Ranch School in 1990. 

In 2004, the Church sold the lands and buildings to the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians.

Castile Canyon Scientology School was located in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, 3 miles east of the City of San Jacinto—40 miles from Palm Springs and Big Bear, and 100 miles south-east of Los Angeles. It was on 478 acres of land, of which 15 acres comprised the school campus.

From 1990 until 2000 Castile Canyon Ranch housed a boarding school for the children of the senior clergy of the Church of Scientology International.  Alumni and friends of the school look back fondly at the days they spent at Castile Canyon on the shoulder of Mount San Jacinto.