San Ysidro Ranch
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Originally part of a land grant in 1769 by the Charles III of Spain, the Ranch was fully deeded with the Presidio in 1780, serving as a sanctuary for Franciscan friars in the late 1700s. In 1828 the Santa Barbara Mission Mission Padres built the Old Adobe and began to farm the land, until it passed through the hands of the mission to become part of the municipal land of the state of California in 1864. After exchanging hands, the San Ysidro Ranch was sold to Harleigh Johnston and Taylor Goodrich in 1883, from Col. Bradbury Dinsmore.
The San Ysidro Citrus Ranch, now the home of the Johnston Fruit Company, harvested an average of 300,000 oranges and 100,000 lemons annually. In 1889, a large sandstone packing house was built to handle the citrus production, later to become the Stonehouse restaurant. In 1892, a ranch house was built that would become The Hacienda, and architectural plans were drawn up for a small hotel. During this time the hotel expanded enough to accommodate moonlight tea parties and regular “Maid’s Night Out” Luncheons and Dinners. The fruit company remained a prominent part of the hotel, as Mrs. Harleigh Johnston’s Marmalade became famous amongst locals and guests alike.
By 1912, the Ranch had become well known enough to host Winston Churchill and his family for the winter months, making such an impression upon Churchill that he boasted of his experience, stating that “It is difficult for one used to our Eastern Climate to imagine a more delightful situation.” However, due to the depletion of resources and means during the great depression, the Johnston’s sold the hotel to Hollywood actor Ronald Colman and hotelier and former Senator Alvin Carl Weingand. They quickly transformed it into a hospitality haven for celebrities; known for its idyllic setting, service and guarding of guest privacy. The famous guests over the years range from Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby and Groucho Marx to Winston Churchill, John Galsworthy, Somerset Maugham, and Sinclair Lewis. Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier were married at the Ranch, John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline honeymooned there and John Huston completed the script for The African Queen during a three-month stay. Following Coleman’s death in 1958 and the death of Weingand’s first wife, Beverly, Senator Weingand’s wife, Lou Hyland Weingand purchased their shares and became co-owner. In 1976, hoteliers, Jim and Susie Lavenson, purchased the Ranch from Weingand and sought to bring luxurious, rustic elegance to the then dilapidated resort. Jim Lavenson had been an advertising executive and president of New York City’s Plaza Hotel, before buying the property.
Entrepreneur Ty Warner acquired the Ranch in 2000 and made it part of the Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts, LLC. Under Warner’s guidance, the Ranch has undergone a major restoration. Half of the ranch was destroyed by a series of mudslides on January 9, 2018
Architect: Appleton Partners LLP.
Contractor: John Lambe Construction
Electrical Engineer: Smith Engineering Associates
Landscape Designer: Appleton Partners LLP.
Structural Designer: Doyle -Morgan
Mechanical Engineer: MEC Engineering