Rancho Santa Fe, California

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Rancho Santa Fe
Census-designated place
Rancho Santa Fe street view 2013.jpg
Nickname(s): The Ranch, Rancho
Location of Rancho Santa Fe within San Diego County, California.
Location of Rancho Santa Fe within San Diego County, California.
Rancho Santa Fe is located in USA
Rancho Santa Fe
Rancho Santa Fe
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°1′26″N 117°12′0″W / 33.02389°N 117.20000°W / 33.02389; -117.20000Coordinates: 33°1′26″N 117°12′0″W / 33.02389°N 117.20000°W / 33.02389; -117.20000
Country  United States
State  California
County San Diego
 • Total 6.788 sq mi (17.581 km2)
 • Land 6.715 sq mi (17.392 km2)
 • Water 0.073 sq mi (0.189 km2)  1.07%
Elevation[2] 246 ft (75 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 3,117
 • Density 460/sq mi (180/km2)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 92067, 92091
Area code 858
FIPS code 06-59584
GNIS feature IDs 247968, 2409138
Reference no. 982[3]

Rancho Santa Fe (Spanish: santa—holy, fe—faith) known locally as "The Ranch″, or "Rancho" is a census-designated place (CDP) in San Diego County, California, United States, within the San Diego metropolitan area. With an estimated (2010) median income of $188,859,[4] it is on the list of highest income communities in the United States with a population of at least 1,000. The population was 3,117 at the 2010 census, down from 3,252 at the 2000 census. The CDP is primarily residential with a few shopping blocks, a middle and elementary school, several restaurants and single family residential areas situated on primarily 1-3 acre parcels.[citation needed].

In 2011, Forbes reported Rancho Santa Fe as having the fourteenth most expensive ZIP code in the United States (down from second place in both 2006 and 2007), and fourth most expensive in California (most expensive California ZIP in 2007), with a 2011 median home sale price of $2,585,000.[5] Some homes in ZIP code 92067 but not within the CDP are valued at more than the median home-value within the Master Planned Community that makes up the official CDP, and many people who live within the 92067 ZIP code cite their community as Rancho Santa Fe even though they do not live within the strict boundaries of the Master Planned Community known as "The Covenant" of Rancho Santa Fe. In 2012, CNN Money / OnBoard LLC reported Rancho Santa Fe, with 96%, rated number one in the US ZIP code list of neighborhoods with the highest percentage of million-dollar homes.


Rancho San Dieguito, as it was originally named, was an 1841 Mexican land grant of 8,824 acres (35.71 km2) from Governor Pío Pico of Alta California to Juan Maria Osuna, the first alcalde (mayor) of the Pueblo of San Diego.

In 1906 the Santa Fe Railway, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, purchased the entire land grant from the Osuna family descendants to plant a Blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) tree plantation for railroad ties, though eucalyptus wood proved too soft to hold railroad spikes. The railroad then formed the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company to develop a planned community of country estates.

During 1917 through 1918 the Santa Fe Land & Improvement Company, under the supervision of its president W.E. Hodges, constructed a dam designed by John S. Eastwood to capture the waters of the San Dieguito River to form Lake Hodges reservoir. Without ample water for irrigation, Rancho Santa Fe could not become a reality. A village plan was adopted, roads were laid out, and properties were plotted. The 6,200 acres developed from the original Rancho San Dieguito land grant was renamed "Rancho Santa Fe" in 1922.

The company chose the San Diego-based architectural firm of Requa and Jackson, noted for their expertise in Spanish Colonial Revival and Mediterranean Revival styles of architecture, to develop the community's master plan. Lilian Rice, an employee of the firm, worked from the 1920s through the 1930s designing, supervising, and constructing the village center, as well as several homes throughout the Ranch. Her philosophy in architecture was to "create unity between buildings and their surroundings in a simplistic blend of picturesque romantic charm." Her architectural influence can be seen throughout the village today.

In 1923 the Santa Fe Land Company started residential development and constructed a guest house called "La Morada" to house potential land purchasers. In 1941 the name was changed to "The Inn", when it was purchased as a guest resort by Col. George Richardson from Chicago.

A part of Rancho Santa Fe's history is Fairbanks Ranch, known in the olden days as "Rancho Zorro". Originally Rancho Zorro was owned by actor Douglas Fairbanks and his wife, actress Mary Pickford. Today it is a gated community.

The religious cult Heaven's Gate committed mass suicide in a rented mansion here.

In 1989, “The Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe was registered as California Historical Landmark #982 for its status as a historic planned community.[3]


Rancho Santa Fe is located at 33°1′26″N 117°12′0″W / 33.02389°N 117.20000°W / 33.02389; -117.20000 (33.023943, -117.200110).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 6.8 square miles (18 km2). 6.7 square miles (17 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.07%) is water.

The climate of Rancho Santa Fe is, for the most part, typical of the San Diego metropolitan area though its higher elevation and inland location lends itself to larger temperature variations. Notably, Rancho Santa Fe is one of only a few places in suburban San Diego to receive snowfall, the last of which occurred on February 26–27, 2011.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Rancho Santa Fe has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.[7]



The 2010 United States Census[4] reported that Rancho Santa Fe had a population of 3,117. The population density was 459.2 people per square mile (177.3/km²). The racial makeup of Rancho Santa Fe was 2,910 (93.4%) White, 10 (0.3%) African American, 1 (0.0%) Native American, 87 (2.8%) Asian, 4 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 45 (1.4%) from other races, and 60 (1.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 176 persons (5.6%).

The Census reported that 3,117 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 1,195 households, out of which 364 (30.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 848 (71.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 62 (5.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 33 (2.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 23 (1.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 9 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 213 households (17.8%) were made up of individuals and 124 (10.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61. There were 943 families (78.9% of all households); the average family size was 2.93.

The population was spread out with 724 people (23.2%) under the age of 18, 142 people (4.6%) aged 18 to 24, 332 people (10.7%) aged 25 to 44, 1,178 people (37.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 741 people (23.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51.3 years. For every 100 females there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.5 males.

There were 1,391 housing units at an average density of 204.9 per square mile (79.1/km²), of which 1,010 (84.5%) were owner-occupied, and 185 (15.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 12.3%. 2,674 people (85.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 443 people (14.2%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 3,252 people, 1,204 households, and 947 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 476.2 inhabitants per square mile (183.8/km²). There were 1,339 housing units at an average density of 196.1 per square mile (75.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.33% White, 0.46% African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.77% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.15% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.32% of the population.

There were 1,204 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.4% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.3% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 2.9% from 18 to 24, 17.7% from 25 to 44, 33.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was in excess of $200,000, as is the median income for a family. Males had a median income of over $150,000 versus $86,933 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $113,132; and was the wealthiest community in the United States.[9] 3.5% of the population and 2.0% of families were below the poverty line. None under the age of 18 and 5.5% of those 65 and older was living below the poverty line.


Rancho Santa Fe is a stronghold of the Republican Party in San Diego County;[10] however in terms of political donations it gives overwhelmingly to the Democratic Party.[11] In the 2008 Presidential Election, it voted for John McCain over Barack Obama with 66.61%, significantly higher than the county-wide average of 43.79%.[12] The community approved of California Proposition 8 with 57.57%,[13] while Proposition 4 passed with 53.06% of the vote.[14]

In the California State Legislature, Rancho Santa Fe is in the 38th Senate District, represented by Republican Joel Anderson, and in the 77th Assembly District, represented by Republican Brian Maienschein.[15]

In the United States House of Representatives, Rancho Santa Fe is located in California's 49th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +4[16] and is represented by Republican Darrell Issa.[17]


Schools located within the Rancho Santa Fe School District:

  • R. Roger Rowe Rancho Santa Fe School - public elementary and middle school serving grades K through 8
  • Diegueno Country School - Private Elementary School serving Kindergarten through Sixth grade [3]
  • Horizon Preparatory - private
  • The Nativity School - private

Solana Beach School District

Rancho Santa Fe is located within the San Dieguito Union High School District which includes the schools:

At times the term "Rancho Santa Fe" refers to the original planned community which is known as "the Covenant" of Rancho Santa Fe.

Communities adjacent to or near "the Covenant" of Rancho Santa Fe:

  • Rancho Santa Fe Groves, a gated community on the northeast border of the RSF Covenant set in an orange grove.
  • Del Mar Country Club, a gated premier country club and golf course with beautiful multi-million dollar homes.
  • Cielo, a gated community a few miles east of the RSF Covenant bordered by Del Dios Highway.
  • Santa Fe Hills, a community of 31 homes located several miles southeast of the RSF Covenant and West of Del Sur.
  • The Crosby, a gated community a few miles east of the RSF Covenant and bordered by Del Dios Highway.
  • The Lakes above Rancho Santa Fe, a gated community a few miles east of the RSF Covenant and bordered by The Crosby.
  • Stonebridge, a gated community of 26 homes contiguous to the West boundary of the RSF Covenant adjoining the San Elijo lagoon and wildlife preserve.
  • Morgan Run, a golf course community surrounded by the Morgan Run Golf Course on the southern border of the RSF Covenant.
  • Fairbanks Ranch, The Crosby, Hacienda Santa Fe, The Summit, Del Rayo, The Bridges, Rancho La Cima, The River Estates

Social history[edit]

Rancho Santa Fe (RSF) has its origins as Rancho San Dieguito, a Mexican land grant made during 1836–1845 to Juan María Osuna (the first mayor or alcalde of the San Diego area). In 1906 it was sold to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, which renamed it after the second transcontinental railroad to reach California. As previously mentioned, the Railway planted extensive groves of eucalyptus trees in the hope of having a near-inexhaustible supply of raw material for the railway ties they needed to expand their Western American market. Eucalyptus wood, however, proved too brittle; unable to hold railway spikes.

Rancho Santa Fe gained popularity when Bing Crosby bought the storied Osuna Ranch in 1936. He invited all of his Hollywood cronies down to enjoy the peace and quiet of the country, and to play the Rancho Santa Fe golf course. In 1937, he launched the first Bing Crosby Pro Am Tournament. The same year, Crosby, along with fellow actors Pat O'Brien, Gary Cooper, Oliver Hardy and Joe E. Brown, opened the Del Mar Race Track. Crosby's "fun golf tournaments," which included Hollywood celebrities matched with owners, jockeys, and trainers from the area, drew great crowds to the Ranch. Rancho Santa Fe became a popular destination.

Rancho Sante Fe was chosen to host the equestrian events during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

The public library in Rancho Santa Fe is a branch of the San Diego County Library system,[18] and is open to all California residents. The Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild owns the building and land that house the Rancho Santa Fe Library, as well as providing the staff for the children's room.

Notable people[edit]

Notable former residents[edit]


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