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The Warner-Carrillo Ranch HouseSOHO's Newest Museum!
Built in 1857 by Vincenta Carrillo, a prominent early Californio woman rancher, the adobe known as the Ranch House at Warner's served as the Butterfield Stage Stop from 1858 until the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. As California's first regular overland transcontinental stage connection with St. Louis, this pioneering stage route ran along the Missouri Trail. The trail was the most southerly and only all-weather route to California. Built directly beside the emigrant trail, it figured prominently in the settlers' diaries as their first glimpse of the promised land, the first well watered valley to be encountered after crossing the great southwestern deserts. The historic setting has changed very little from the time of the great western migration and presents a rare opportunity to experience the past.
"Warner's Ranch is a comfortable house situated in the valley, in the midst of a beautiful meadow, and with its shingled roof looked more like civilization than anything I had seen for many days. There were hundreds of cattle grazing on the plain, and everything looked as comfortable as every natural advantage could secure." - Waterman L. Ormsby, correspondent for the New York Herald, 1858
The adobe maintains a high degree of integrity including a great deal of its historic fabric including the original fireplace mantle, much woodwork and vigas (ceiling beams).
"The Spring Round Up - Scene of Great Activity on the Warner Ranch. The Warner Ranch Company has just closed its spring round up. It has lasted four or five days and about thirty vaqueros engaged. It was one of those occasions becoming quite rare in California owing to the cutting up of cattle ranges into farms and town sites." - San Diego Union, 1898
In 2000 after the site was first listed by SOHO as the "most important unprotected historical site in San Diego County," a $75,000 matching grant through the San Diego Foundation was offered by an anonymous donor who cited SOHO's listing as the catalyst for the donation, which the Vista Irrigation District was able to match. The VID then embarked on a campaign to raise an additional approximately $300,000 to fully restore the site. In 2010 the VID pursued and won a California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) grant, which was also a grant that the VID matched. This enabled the restoration to be done and today this hugely important piece of American history has been saved.
"During the entire Butterfield-Southern Route operation, October 1858 to April 1861, Carrillo's Buena Vista, being the olden Warner Ranch House acquired from Portilla and repaired by the Carrillo's, served as the home-owned Butterfield Station on Warner's Ranch." - William L. Wright, The Warner's Ranch Butterfield Station Puzzle, Los Angeles: Teh Westerners' Brand Book 9, Los Angeles Corral, 1961
SOHO is looking for artifacts and period furnishings for the adobe now that it is restored. A lengthy wish list of items needed can be found on our website under Warner-Carrillo Ranch House museum. There is still more work to be completed for the house and site, namely a working fireplace, which is necessary not only as the only heat source but as an interpretive tool. The historic fences will need to be built and the adobe and hand hewn beamed barn must be restored as well. If you can help with the fundraising or make a donation yourself please contact SOHO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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