Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rancho Guajome Adobe- Continued

I ended the last posting with a mention of Samuel Clemens.  There is another connection which the house has with a famous author.  Helen Hunt Jackson stayed in the guest bedroom which has been referred to as the "Ramona Room".  She had been a guest at the ranch several times over the years and it has been reported that she based the hacienda in her novel Ramona on this adobe.  Rumor has it that she did not get along with Ysidora because of her belief in the rights of Native Americans.  
Cave Jr. added two end sun rooms in the 1920's.  One of them is pictured below and opens into what once was the teacher's bedroom.  Next to that room is the children's schoolroom.  The steps in the foreground lead up to what became the sewing room, the only second floor room in the hacienda.
On this veranda is a Mason and Hamlin reed pump organ which Cave Jr. gave to his wife Lily Bell in 1890.  It has a three manual keyboard and two octaves of bass notes played by the feet, so someone besides the organist is needed to pump a hand lever on the side of it for the bellows.  Today the wind is furnished by a vacum motor in the next room which is connected to the organ by a flexible tube.  Our tour guide Jerry is an organist so he played "La Cucaracha" for us on the organ.  What a great sound from an old lady!
In Cave Couts Senior's office is his diploma from West Point.  Jerry informed us that it is written on sheepskin.  We did not know that diplomas actually were once written on sheepskin!  Outside of the house is located the chapel which was rebuilt in 1920 by Cave Jr., it is pictured below.  Next to it, on the right, is a cistern which was built using  bricks from the old mission.  A lot of the building material for the house was taken from the Mission San Luis Rey, including several religious relics.  When the mission was once again in use Mrs.Couts returned the religious items.
This is pretty much some of the highlights of this 7,000 square-foot hacienda and surrounding grounds.  In its day it was a city unto itself and lots of southern California history happened on this ranch!   Generations of Couts heirs lived there until 1973 when the County of San Diego acquired the property. 
Tomorrow John and I are leaving by train to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter Melissa and her husband Spencer in Illinois.  I will be taking a writing hiatus from this blog site for several weeks.

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