Monday, January 16, 2012

The Olivas Adobe..come back in time today! ~Tanya Hanson.


The Olivas Adobe is a great way to “visit” Southern California’s Rancho Period first-hand. Not far from my home, this prime example of adobe (dried clay brick) architecture is unique with its two-story structure. Don Raymundo Olivas added an unusual second floor during the rancho’s hey-day in the late 1840’s, and the house has been restored to its original stature.

Don Raymundo was born poor in 1809 in the tiny pueblo that grew into today’s Los Angeles and joined the Mexican Army in California at 16. As a Lancer (cavalryman), he was assigned to the Presidio (fort) at Santa Barbara, about two hours north of L.A.

It was here in Santa Barbara that Raymundo met Teodora Lopez and married her in November 1832. In gratitude for his loyalty and service, Mexican Governor Juan B. Alvarado granted Raymundo and a friend 4,670 acres of land in today’s Ventura County. Raymundo began ranching this land while Teodora began bearing children. 21 total, eight girls and 13 boys.

When gold was discovered along the American River about four hundred miles north, Raymundo found his own "gold mine" and made a fortune supplying those Forty-Niner miners with beef as well as hides.

These were the golden years for the adobe, with its remodeling and additions and glorious parties. Raymundo’s family prospered until drought in the 1860’s destroyed the cattle empires. He survived by raising sheep.

His death in 1879 was the beginning of the end for the Olivas' fortune, and the adobe house was sold in 1899. Some of the ranchland has become a municipal golf course, some strawberry fields, some subdivisions. After passing through many owners, the adobe itself was purchased by Max Fleischmann, of the yeast empire, who restored the building in 1927. Upon his death, the adobe was given to the City of Ventura, and it opened as a museum in July, 1972. Docent-led tours are frequent.

We local folks enjoy the “Cowboys, Heroes and Outlaws: Passport to the American West” held every summer, with Western reenactors in full regalia as well as pioneer crafts for the kids.

In fact, many fourth-grade schoolchildren take field trips to the adobe for a hands-on two-hour program that brings to life the Rancho Period of California History.

And just last month, folks enjoyed the annual holiday candlelight tour that showcased the tradition of Las Posada, where Mary and Joseph seek room at the inn.

It’s a great place to visit. Ya’ll come on down, ya hear?

~Tanya
www.tanyahanson.com
www.petticoatsandpistols.com



My latest release, Right to Bragg, is available now at Amazon and White Rose Publishing.. It's Book Four in the Hearts Crossing Ranch series...I just turned in Book Eight and the feelings are bittersweet. I love that ranch and the Martin family. Book Three, Sanctuary, and my first-ever suspense story Faithful Danger are both up for CAPA Awards at The Romance Studio. Enjoyable start to a new year.

43 comments:

  1. Great pictures! We have a friend in Kansas who still lives in an adobe house. Parts of it have been remodeled, but not all. His window ledges are about eighteen inches deep.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this Tanya - love learning new bits of history and regional color

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  3. Tanya, I love the old West, when California was still a part of Spain. Very cool pictures and great info - possibly for a future book? Inquiring minds want to know! Hugs hon!

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  4. Thats one of our favorite places to go! The ranch house is amazingly kept up and the there's a really fun Sagebrush eatery next door. (wink, wink)

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  5. Thanks, Cheryl. This is a fun place to visit, especially w hen they do the cowboy re-enactments. They have candlemaking booths and other pioneer things for the kiddies.

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  6. Hi Lauri, adobe is supposed to be the best insulation of all...warm in winter, cool in summer. I am so glad your friend has retained much of his historic house! Thanks for posting. oxox

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  7. Hi Winnie, when I started writing historicals, I got hooked on Nebraska and Texas...then I started realizing how much history lurks outside my front door. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Lovely pictures and very informative post. I love it when I can learn something. The old west is one of those areas I absorb info about like a sponge. Loved it.

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  9. Hi Christine, yes the adobe is inspiring enough for a book. When I finish my Nebraska series, I think i'll move back home.

    It always amazes me that Dona Teodora had TWENTY ONE children. I shudder. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Hi Vonnie, yes, I love the Old West, too. I love the Hallmark Movie Channel...they show so many Western settings in their flicks. Of course many of them are close by. Our open spaces are pretty "wild" still.

    Thanks for the post! oxox

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  11. Hi Charlene, yes, we gotta go exploring again! Been too long. But gramma-hood does take up wonderful time LOL. Thanks for posting. LOVE YOU.

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  12. I loved this post, Tanya. Read it out loud to my hubby. Interesting that he made his fortune selling beef to the 49ers up here in my area. In fact, I think the non-gold diggers made more money than those searching for the nuggets.

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  13. I've been there and it was amazing. The history of a place is always so fascinating - thanks for this great post!

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  14. Thanks for the information. I'd never heard of this place, but I'd love to visit. The history of old California is very romantic!

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  15. Hi Paisley, thanks so much for sharing Olivas with your hubby. My hubby loves the place...actually, the Olivas golf course next door LOL.

    Thanks for stopping by today.

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  16. Hi Veronica, so good to see you yesterday. I do love the local color practically in our own backyard!

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  17. HI Alyssa, hope you make it to Olivas. The interior is so well-preserved and decorated. There are docents dressed up old-fashioned and very knowledgeable.

    Thanks for visiting.

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  18. Tanya, Santa Barbara and Ventura are two of my favorite places. As a child, I lived in Kern County in an adobe home with thick walls. We loved it because it was cool in summer (most of the year) and warm in winter. The only thing my mom disliked about it was ants. You cannot keep ants out of an adobe house, even when the adobe is painted inside and out. My mom had a sweet tooth, and used a lot of sugar. I'm sure she spilled some, because it seemed we always had ants on the kitchen counter. When my husband and I built our (first) dream home, I drew the plans like those Mexican influenced in Southern California. I still love them, even though we live in a tudor style now.

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  19. Caroline, Oh, I think I'm jealous. What a childhood you had! I do think my fam gets to live in one of the best places on earth. I just did my gardening in a tank top and shorts. A cold day here is in the 50't, and a hot one, the 80's. We're very close to the ocean and very temperate.

    Thanks, everyone, for stopping by today!

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  20. Hi Tanya -- your blogs are always so interesting and informative. Many congratulations on the CAPA nominations!

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  21. Interesting stuff Tanya. There was a sergeant where I worked who wrote a book about adobes. I can't remember if it was about adobes in L.A. or all of California.

    Anyway they make for an interesting look at history.

    Great blog!

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  22. I love history and the possibilities of stories that speak to you from the walls of places like that. Thanks for sharing Tanya.

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  23. Great story, Tanya. I probably won't travel to see the Olivas Adobe myself, so it's nice to take the trip through your words and pictures. Thanks so much.

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  24. So thankful this Racho was restored. What a wonderful history! Is it any wonder he built the second story with 21 children? I'm surprised it isn't larger. :-)

    Being a native Californian and born in Goleta, I loved visiting my homeland through your post today. Fabulous!

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  25. Hi Tanya,
    Those are my old stomping ground. I grew up there and still have family that live there but I've never actually taken the tour of the adobe. Can you beleive it? Now I know what I've been missing. Thanks for sharing!

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  26. I think I went there in the 4th grade!

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  28. I used this as a model for my Last Chance Rance series which takes place in Arizona Territory. The two story house was unique for the times but it's what I needed.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Hugs

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  29. Hi Tanya, Excellent post. My Grandees trilogy is about this very subject, Tanya. The latest book from TWRP was about the rancho era people. In the second book, yet to be published, I named my hero's ranch Rancho Monserate. Our small ranch in north San Diego County was on that old rancho property.
    Another reason Dons lost their land was the US began imposing taxes. Many of those proud people were land poor with little money to pay taxes on land that had been deeded to them for a long time.
    Lovely, interesting post.

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  30. I grew up in this area, too, Tanya, and have many childhood memories of peering into such restorations (as well as all the missions), and trying to imagine myself living back then. I think it was what first hooked me on "time travel." Still can't pass up a ghost town without having to wander through and "get the feel" of what life must have been like there.

    Loved taking this trip with you, today!

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  31. Hi Helen, thanks so much for stopping by. I have fun learning new things LOL. And Olivas is really a lovely place. oxox

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  32. Hi Kathy, I love the adobe concept. Sure saves trees. thanks so much for stopping by today.

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  33. Hi Mia, I so agree. If those walls could only talk...with 21 kids and i imagine nearly a hundred grandkids, what stories were made there. Thanks for posting.

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  34. Hi Carra, I know what you mean. There are so many places I doubt I'll see. So I'm glad when I find one pretty close to home. So nice you could drop by. Thanks.

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  35. Hi Karen, I do tend to look elsewhere, e.g. Texas or Nebraska, for pioneer tidbits. But there are so many here for us natives! Thanks for the post and glad it stirred some good memories. oxox

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  36. Hi Janie, i bet you did. With California History a state requirement, lots of kiddies visit the adobe, and also our nearby mission. Hope you had fun!

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  37. Hi Tanya, my doppelganger now so far away LOL. I wonder how else our paths crossed! We'll have to compare notes and get together when you're back for a visit. oxox

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  38. Hi Margaret, I for one am glad you transplanted it for your story. Whatever works, huh. So happy to see you here, my friend.

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  39. Thanks, Joyce. I am so glad far-sighted folks preserved as much of the rancho history and the missions as possible. Our state sure is rich with legend, fact and interesting people and events. So happy to see you here!

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  40. Thanks, Lilly, for posting today. I also wonder how it would be, if the space-time continuum could exist (I discussed this endlessly with the physics teacher when we had lunch duty...he said it doesn't LOL)...being able step back in time in a spot familiar to you in the present, and see how it was. I keep thinking...the smells might be discouraging LOL as hygiene habits, laundry and dry cleaning weren't the same as ours. But I'd still like to go!

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  41. Tanya, I'm a docent at the Olivas Adobe. Thank you for the article. It gives a nice overview of the history. The picture of the couple are that of Sarita Olivas and Anton Peters. Sarita was a grandchild of Raymond and Theodora Olivas. The picture is from her wedding in 1833. We don't have any photos of Raymond. Again thanks.

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  42. Tanya, I'm a docent at the Olivas Adobe. Thank you for the article. It gives a nice overview of the history. The picture of the couple are that of Sarita Olivas and Anton Peters. Sarita was a grandchild of Raymond and Theodora Olivas. The picture is from her wedding in 1833. We don't have any photos of Raymond. Again thanks.

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