SOHO Buys the Store
SOHO is pleased to announce that we have made a major property acquisition with the purchase of the Santa Ysabel General Store. The store is one of San Diego backcountry's most significant and recognized historic landmarks. And, as one of the rarest types of buildings in all of San Diego County, the risk of an unknown future for the important 1884 adobe and wood frame commercial building was too great. We purchased it to assure its protection and preservation, additionally, it helps to fulfill our long sought goals of an expanded physical presence in other parts of the county.
The iconic building is the most important of the 19th century sites left in Santa Ysabel, though the town retains much of its historic feel buffered by quite a bit of open space and has not suffered the ravages of overdevelopment. Situated directly on Highway 78 at the crossroads to Julian and Warner Springs, the 3000 square-foot store was purchased for cash.
SOHO is equally excited to announce that we will operate the site together with several of San Diego County's most respected land conservancy organizations: Volcan Mountain Foundation (VMF), San Diego River Park Foundation (SDRPF), San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (SDRVC), San Dieguito River Park (SDRP), and in the future could include The Wildlife Research Institute, and others.
Santa Ysabel General Store, c. 1918. Courtesy Coons collection
A much needed back country Nature Interpretive Center will be the job of these groups to create here and SOHO will operate a general store as we interpret the site with its original use and as a back country visitor center, another much needed amenity for the area.
One of the first orders of business is to restore the façade, replicate and replace windows and doors that have been removed or changed, and paint the building, which includes restoring its historic signage and cornice.
SOHO purchased the store from the Tulloch family, one of San Diego's important pioneer cattle ranching families who have for generations been caring for the land and numerous historic sites. They were eager to get the building into good hands and felt that SOHO was a good fit for the property.
Santa Ysabel lies on the road between Ramona and Julian and was a hub of excitement when gold was discovered in the area in 1870; the store was a center of activity in that area for ranchers and Native Americans. The only false-front adobe store left in the county, it was built by John Curlee in 1884 with the wood-frame addition being added about ten years later; pharmacist David L. Hoover purchased the building soon after its construction. Over the years, it served as a grocery, dry goods and feed store; post office; stage stop; western wear shop; and barbershop among other things, and more recently has been home to several antique stores. Many of the families who ran the store over the years still live in Santa Ysabel and they are helping to provide the narrative for the store.
This marks the first time since 1969, when SOHO helped to purchase the Villa Montezuma in Sherman Heights, that SOHO has purchased a building.
SOHO is seeking donations to help restore the building and replenish funds. We are also actively working with the county to save the 1890s barn built by Hoover on an adjoining property.
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