Monday, June 3, 2019

The Castle of Kron Street


Back in the eighties, a man’s home was his castle. 
At least Haym Ganish thought so, as he began making modifications to his tract home in Irvine.  Haym wanted his home to be spacious and grand, and spent money and good labor turning the house into his own palace, more than twice the size of the original.
The Kron Castle, prior to demolition


But Haym forgot one thing.  Cities frown on people making their own modifications without first ensuring the plans meet all the necessary building codes, and secondly, that permission is granted by both the permitting process, and by local Homeowner Association CC&R’s (Covenant, Codes, and Restrictions).

That was where Haym and his wife Fern got in trouble, because, as luck would have it, Haym’s neighbors were less than enthused about the growing Ganish home.  The house was doubling in size, with turrets and stonework that made it appear intimidating and out of place. The neighbors complained to the city. The city sent inspectors. And citations were issued aplenty.

Not only was the place ugly to the neighbors: it was downright dangerous.  Electrical wiring and jerry-rigged scaffolding stretched across great expanses.  Walls were left unfinished, and some load bearing walls were compromised.  In all, Haym Ganish was ordered to bring the place within code in a few short months, or risk having the place demolished by the city.

Ganish protested, and took his plight to the public.  The Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register were fast to report the growing fracas.  The Castle on Kron street was quickly becoming a popular destination for drive-by Lookie Lou’s, further enraging the neighbors who just wanted to live on a quiet, family-friendly cul-de-sac. News vans from all the local television stations arrived.

Add to Haym’s woes; a shrinking money supply.  There was no way he could pay for such a fast turn-around from firetrap to chateau.

“Well,” said Mark Bailey, the owner of a nearby (but not in Irvine, goodness no) topless bar known as Captain Creame’s. ”Here is my chance to get a little good press, for a change.” So Bailey sent some of his regular contractor customers along with a couple of girls for the cameras to Hyam and Fern’s house with $65,000 and manpower to get to work on the eyesore.

It was a lovely media circus, but in the end, there wasn’t enough time to effect the changes.  By now, the city’s resolve to boot the Ganish’s out of their castle was weakening when it looked like they might actually have to send in Snidely Whiplash.  So over the next few years, they worked with a completely disgruntled Ganish, as the house was slowly and painfully brought to code.  Meanwhile, the neighborhood stewed in discontent.

An empty lot is all that remains


Today Haym’s castle is no more.  The Ganish’s moved to Los Angeles, Captain Creame’s (whom the Ganish’s actually sued) was closed once El Toro became the Great Park, and the Castle of Haym’s doomed kingdom was leveled early in May of 2019. Now it is just an empty "camel lot." 

The good news is that the neighborhood is once again happy, as they await whatever new construction will arise from the rubble. Let’s hope for a good one.

3 comments:

  1. Do you know whether the house was demolished by the city or by the new owner after Ganish moved out and sold?

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I had replied earlier where I said I was uncertain of why the castle was demolished, but since then I learned it was at the hand of the city. The fight to keep the property continued, until it was determined that it would cost more to bring the property up to safe standards than to replace the house. The city moved to take control while Ganish tried in vain to keep it. In the end the city found a buyer, and Ganish could not produce the funds to keep the Kron property. The buyer (probably a neighbor) plans to build a home for her daughter.

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