Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rancho Guajome Adobe County Park

Our first visit to this park was on Tuesday when we discovered that we could not tour the hacienda until Wednesday.  However, we were able to take a hiking trail around the ranch where, from the hills behind it, we could get a fairly good view of the home.
Our path took us through quite a large patch of dried fennel which gave off a nice scent.  Fennel smells like anise and licorice, so that should give you an idea of what we were smelling.  We also heard a loud creaky sound from the marsh.   The only creature we figured that could make that sound would be a frog.  What a surprise the next day when we returned and discovered that Guajome in the Uto-Aztec word wakhavumi  means "frog pond".   When we returned on Wednesday we had a guide, Jerry, to give us a tour of the home.  We learned from him that the ranch of 2,219 acres had been a Mexican land grant given to two native American brothers from the Mission San Luis Rey (this happened at the time of the secularization of the missions).  The brothers sold the land to a prominent wealthy San Diego man, who gave the land as a gift to his sister-in-law Ysidora at the time of her wedding to Colonel Cave Johnson Couts in 1851.  From 1852-53 they constructed a large residence on the property which has inner and outer courtyards.

The couple would eventually have 10 children, and over the years wings were added to the home.  The home has 28 rooms, which includes the ranch store and office,a living room and dining room, kitchen, pantry and bakery, servant's quarters, as well as 8 bedrooms.   Some of the furnishings of the home have been returned by descendants of the family, as well as by the descendants of the servants who worked at the ranch.  There are twos room dedicated to the Native American artifacts which includes their tools and baskets.  Some of the articles have been made by the Native Americans in recent years for the sole purpose of displaying their important connection with the ranch's history.  Servants on the ranch numbered about 200 in the 19th century.
I will continue the story of this ranch and our tour of it in my next posting.  Before ending this I will leave you with the picture of the front formal entrance of the hacienda.   The one room on the second level of the home use to be a guardhouse.  It was later converted into a sewing room by Cave Johnson Couts Junior for his wife Lily Bell Clemens (cousin of author Samuel Clemens) when he married her in 1887.

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