Camarillo Ranch House
Camarillo Ranch House
Camarillo Ranch House
|Location||201 Camarillo Ranch Rd., Camarillo, California|
|Architect||Anlauf, Herman; Ward, Franklin|
|Architectural style||Queen Anne, Other|
|NRHP Reference #||
|Added to NRHP||February 20, 2003|
Camarillo Ranch House, also known as Rancho Calleguas and Adolfo Camarillo House, is a Queen Anne-style Victorian house in Camarillo, California. Built in 1892, the 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) house was designed by architects Herman Anlauf and Franklin Ward. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The house is currently operated by the Rancho Camarillo Foundation and is open to the public for docent-led tours on Saturdays and Sundays. It is also available to be rented for weddings and other special events.
- 1 Camarillo family
- 2 Camarillo Ranch House
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Juan and Martina Camarillo
Juan and Martina Camarillo were married in 1840 and moved to Ventura, California in 1854, becoming the fourth European family in the town. In 1876, Juan Camarillo bought the 10,000-acre (40 km2) Rancho Calleguas in eastern Ventura County from Jose Pedro Ruiz for $3,000 in gold. Rancho Calleguas remained in the Camarillo family until the 1960s, eventually becoming the City of Camarillo—named for the family.
Legal battles for control of the Rancho
Juan Camarillo died in 1880, and Martina Camarillo in 1898. In 1891, Martina had deeded the Rancho to her sons, Adolfo and Juan, Jr. Following her death, the Camarillo daughters (who were bequeathed $5 each in the will) challenged the deeds and the will. The Los Angeles Times reported that it promised to be "the greatest legal battle yet fought" in the courts of Ventura County, as the family members fought over property then valued at "a million dollars or more." While the initial suit was settled within a few months, the sisters filed a new legal action in 1905, alleging that the brothers had deceived their mother and that Juan had confessed his fraud to his sister and paid her $8500. It was also alleged that Adolfo had forced Juan to leave the country upon threats of exposure of his "private acts" that would cause disgrace and scandal. The Los Angeles Times followed the "spicy" case closely, noting that its charges and counter-charges "would furnish material for a sure-enough 'season's best seller.'" At the trial, a letter was introduced purporting to be signed by Martina Camarillo instructing Adolfo to destroy the will leaving everything to himself and his brother. Juan testified that his sister sought to blackmail him by threatening to send him to prison for "an infamous crime," and a grandson testified that he saw Adolfo "mysteriously place a paper in Mrs. Camarillo's tin box within a few minutes after her death."
Adolfo Z. Camarillo
Eventually, Adolfo Z. Camarillo (1864–1958) came to control the rancho and turned it into "the largest bean ranch in the world." Camarillo employed 700 workers on his ranch, and his production was so great that the Los Angeles Times reported in 1909 that, "through the enormous output of his ranch, [Camarillo] is, in a measure, able to set the price which the public must pay for beans." Adolfo Camarillo became one of the wealthiest landowners in the county, and in 1911 he was elected chairman of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. He also served as a member of the State Board of Agriculture.
Camarillo Ranch House
Architecture and use as the center of ranch operations
After receiving title to the Rancho from his mother in 1891, Adolfo Camarillo hired architects Herman Anlauf and Franklin Ward in 1892 to build a 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) Queen-Anne style Victorian house. They also designed the House at Faulkner Farm near Santa Paula. The house has two turrets, a large veranda and sprawling lawns. Adolfo also planted many varieties of trees, including eucalyptus trees, around the house. The Camarillo Ranch House, as it is now known, became the center of the sprawling Rancho Calleguas for the next 70 years. From the ranch house, Adolfo oversaw the Rancho's production of lima beans, walnuts, and citrus. The house also became known for the barbecues, rodeos and fiestas held by Adolfo. Adolfo lived in the three-story Victorian mansion until shortly before his death from pneumonia in December 1958. In 1998, The Firm of Lopez Architects, A.I.A, of Camarillo, CA, provided a Historic Preservation Rehabilation to the House. Under the direction of Principal, Craig J. Lopez, A.I.A. the home was seismically upgraded, and replicated to its original room, exterior porch configuration and High Victorian exterior style.
Camarillo Ranch's white Arabian stallions
From the 1920s through the 1960s, the Camarillo Ranch House was most widely known for the white Arabian parade stallions bred by Adolfo. Adolfo rode one of his white Arabians each year in the Fiesta of Santa Barbara dressed in colorful Spanish costume. Even after Adolfo died in 1958, the family continued to carry on the tradition of breeding the white Arabians and riding them in area parades. Adolfo's original sire, Sultan, was a pure white, part Arabian and Morgan stallion. Sultan reportedly produced "snow white, pink skinned foals" no matter the color of the mares with whom he was mated. In 1967, the Camarillos were still breeding the white horses on the remaining 117 acres (0.47 km2) owned by the family, and the Los Angeles Times published a feature story on the Camarillo horses. At that time, there were about a dozen Camarillo white Arabians remaining, and the Times wrote: "The Camarillo horses love a parade. Any spectator who has ever watched one dance down the street -- a brightly costumed member of the Camarillo family astride a heavily ornamented silver saddle -- can attest to the predilection." Since the 1920s, the Camarillo horses have appeared in numerous parades and at the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 1941. In 1950, the Camarillo horses led the Rose Parade and have been in many Rose Parades since.
Sale and subdivision of the Rancho
In 1963, the family put the vast ranch property up for sale. An initial sale of 5,500 acres (22 km2) in 1963 fell through, but the ranch was eventually sold off and its vast ranch lands developed into the housing tracts and commercial and industrial centers of modern Camarillo. The Camarillo family retained about 100 acres (0.40 km2), including the old ranch house.
Recent use of the Ranch house
In 1998, the Camarillo Planning Commission approved a zoning change to allow an industrial park to be built around the Camarillo Ranch House, but conditioned the approval on the developer's donating the ranch house, barn and 4.4 acres (18,000 m2) to the city. The city then renovated the house and opened it to the public in 2001 as a museum and site for receptions and other functions. The house is operated by the nonprofit Camarillo Ranch Foundation. The renovation cost $1.5 million and was also made possible by volunteers who donated 10,000 hours to the effort.
Camarillo Ranch House is a popular location not only for weddings and receptions but also for filming. One location manager noted that the house has the appearance of a rural setting "almost anywhere in the United States -- from Bakersfield to Nebraska."
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.
- "Ventura County: Death of Mrs. Camarillo, a Pioneer". Los Angeles Times. 1898-04-17.
- "Rancho Adolfo situated on historic Calleguas site". Los Angeles Times. 1979-03-03.
- "Ventura County: Will of the Late Mrs. Martina H. Camarillo Filed". Los Angeles Times. 1898-05-17.
- "Ventura County: Contest Between Sisters and Brothers Over a Ranch; Ten Thousand Acres of Valuable Land Worth One Million Dollars -- Validity of Deed and Will Challenged". Los Angeles Times. 1898-06-17.
- "Camarillo Contest Settled". Los Angeles Times. 1898-10-14.
- "Fierce Contest for Big Estate: Brothers and Sisters in Legal War at Ventura; Blackmail Charge of Plaintiff Against One Defendant Is Sensational Development in Suit for Division of Vast Calleguas Rancho. Million Dollars Is Involved in Case". Los Angeles Times. 1905-10-05.
- "Case May Be A Spicy One: Campo-Camarillo Rancho Case To Be Heard Tuesday; Transferred to Santa Barbara from Ventura County -- Litigation Involves Rich Lands of the Calleguas Property -- Many Complaints and Counter-Complaints Filed". Los Angeles Times. 1906-08-12.
- "Santa Barbara Trial Interests: Camarillo Case Promises to Be More Sensational; Action Grows Out of Disputes Over Wealthy Estates Left by the Old Spanish Land Owners". Los Angeles Times. 1906-08-20.
- "Personalities: Gossip of Interesting People". Los Angeles Times. 1909-02-21.
- "Wealthy Man Is Chairman: Supervisors of Ventura County Re-organize and Name Ranch Owner as Head". Los Angeles Times. 1911-01-05.
- "Camarillo Rites Fixed: Wife of Ventura County Pioneer Will Be Rendered Final Honor Tomorrow". Los Angeles Times. 1936-07-21.
- "Don Adolfo Camarillo, of Historic Family, Dies". Los Angeles Times. 1958-12-11.
- Jerry Berns (1986-11-22). "A family's history is reflected in the Adolfo Camarillo House". Los Angele Times.
- Sharon E. Fay (1967-07-30). "Camarillo White Horses Keep in Step for Historical Parade". Los Angeles Times.
- "Camarillo Ranch Sold in $23 Million Deal: Palisades Subdivideer to Develop 5,500 acres (22 km2) for Homes, Business, Industry". Los Angeles Times. 1963-12-22.
- "Pact Signed on Camarillo Ranch Sale: L.A. Group to Buy 4,600 acres (19 km2) of Land for $20 Million". Los Angeles Times. 1964-01-08.
- "Suit Filed to Regain Ranch Title: Camarillo Family Lawyer Says Buyer Faulted on Contract". Los Angeles Times. 1964-03-14.
- "$18 Million Ranch Sale Under Way: 4,600 acres (19 km2) of Camarillo Property Involved in Deal". Los Angeles Times. 1964-11-17.
- "Foreclosure Sale Set for Camarillo Ranch". Los Angeles Times. 1968-08-18.
- Dawn Hobbs (1998-03-05). "Planners OK Industrial Park on Land Near Historic Ranch House". Los Angeles Times.
- Dawn Hobbs (1998-04-09). "Council Approves Industrial Park Plan; Development: The project is proposed near the historic Camarillo Ranch House, which will be transferred to the city in August". Los Angeles Times (Ventura County Edition).
- Jennifer Knight (1998-10-09). "Ventura County Roundup: West; Camarillo; Demolition of Historic Ranch Buildings Begins". Los Angeles Times (Ventura County Edition).
- Suzie St. John (2002-02-18). "The Region; A Stroll Through the Past; History: Tours of the renovated Camarillo Ranch House are designed to convey what life was like for the city's founding family". Los Angeles Times (Ventura County Edition).
- Stacy Brown (1999-09-10). "Ventura County Roundup; Camarillo; New Foundation for Old Barn". Los Angeles Times (Ventura County Edition).
- Dawn Hobbs (1998-02-24). "Camarillo Focuses on Larger Role in Film Industry". Los Angeles Times.