Rancho Santa Fe


Rancho Santa Fe

California Historical Landmark

 Rancho Santa Fe (Spanish: santa—holy, fe—faith) known locally as ″The Ranch″, is a census-designated place (CDP) in San Diego County, California, United States, within the San Diego metropolitan area. With an estimated (2010) median income of $188,859,[3] it is on the list of highest income communities in the United States . It is primarily residential with a few shopping blocks, a middle and elementary school, several restaurants and single family residential areas situated on primarily 1-3 acre parcels.

In 2011, Forbes reported Rancho Santa Fe as having the fourteenth most expensive ZIP code in the United States, and fourth most expensive in California with a 2011 median home sale price of $2,585,000.


“Rancho San Dieguito” as it was called in 1841, included 8,824 acres, and was acquired by the first political “alcalde” of San Diego, Juan Maria Osuna, under a land grant from the governor of Mexico, Pio Pico. In 1906 the Santa Fe Railway, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, purchased the entire ancestral grant of the Osunas to plant eucalyptus trees for railroad ties, but Eucalyptus wood proved too soft to hold railroad spikes. The railroad then formed the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company to develop a planned community of country estates.

During 1917 through 1918 the Santa Fe Land & Improvement Company under the supervision of its president, W.E. Hodges, constructed a dam to capture the waters of the San Dieguito River and form Lake Hodges. Without ample water for irrigation, Rancho Santa Fe could never become a reality. A village plan was adopted, roads were laid out and properties were plotted. The 6,200 acres carved from the original “Rancho San Dieguito” land grant, was named in 1922, “Rancho Santa Fe.” The company chose a San Diego-based architectural firm called Requa and Jackson, noted for their expertise in Spanish and Mediterranean architecture, to develop the master plan. Lilian Rice, an employee with the firm, worked from the 1920s through the 1930s designing, supervising, and constructing the village center, as well as several homes throughout the Ranch. Her philosophy in architecture was to “create unity between buildings and their surroundings in a simplistic blend of picturesque romantic charm.” Her architectural influence can be seen throughout the village today.

In 1923 the Santa Fe Land Company started residential development and constructed a guest house called “La Morada” to house potential land purchasers. In 1941 the name was changed to “The Inn”, when it was purchased as a guest resort by Col George Richardson from Chicago.

A part of Rancho Santa Fe’s history is Fairbanks Ranch, known in the olden days as “Rancho Zorro”. At one time Rancho Zorro was owned by Douglas Fairbanks and his wife Mary Pickford. Today it is a gated community.


Schools located within the Rancho Santa Fe School District:

R. Roger Rowe Rancho Santa Fe School – public elementary and middle school serving grades K through 8

Diegueno Country School – Private Elementary School serving Kindergarten through Sixth grade [3]

Horizon Preparatory – private

The Nativity School – private

Solana Beach School District

Solana Santa Fe – public elementary school serving grades K through 6

Rancho Santa Fe is located within the San Dieguito Union High School District which includes the schools:

Torrey Pines High School

Canyon Crest Academy

La Costa Canyon High School

Earl Warren Middle School

Carmel Valley Middle School

Sunset Academy

Oak Crest Middle School

North Coast Alternative High School

Diegueño Middle School

At times the term “Rancho Santa Fe” refers to the original planned community which is known as “the Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe.

Communities adjacent to or near “the Covenant” of Rancho Santa Fe:

Rancho Santa Fe Groves, a gated community on the northeast border of the RSF Covenant set in an orange grove.

Cielo, a gated community a few miles east of the RSF Covenant bordered by Del Dios Highway.

Santa Fe Hills, a community of 31 homes located several miles southeast of the RSF Covenant and West of Del Sur.

The Crosby, a gated community a few miles east of the RSF Covenant and bordered by Del Dios Highway.

The Lakes above Rancho Santa Fe, a gated community a few miles east of the RSF Covenant and bordered by The Crosby.

Stonebridge, a gated community of 26 homes contiguous to the West boundary of the RSF Covenant adjoining the San Elijo lagoon and wildlife preserve.

Morgan Run, a golf course community surrounded by the Morgan Run Golf Course on the southern border of the RSF Covenant.

Fairbanks Ranch, The Crosby, Hacienda Santa Fe, The Summit, Del Rayo, The Bridges, Rancho La Cima, The River Estates

Social history

Rancho Santa Fe (RSF) has its origins as Rancho San Dieguito, a Mexican land grant made during 1836–1845 to Juan María Osuna (the first mayor or alcalde of the San Diego area). In 1906 it was sold to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, which renamed it after the second transcontinental railroad to reach California. As previously mentioned, the Railway planted extensive groves of eucalyptus trees in the hope of having a near-inexhaustible supply of raw material for the railway ties they needed to expand their Western American market. Eucalyptus wood, however, proved too brittle; unable to hold railway spikes.

Rancho Santa Fe gained popularity when Bing Crosby bought the storied Osuna Ranch in 1936. He invited all of his Hollywood cronies down to enjoy the peace and quiet of the country, and play the Rancho Santa Fe golf course. In 1937 he launched the First Bing Crosby Pro Am Tournament. The same year Bing Crosby, movie director for Douglas Fairbanks, Ted Reed, and Pat O’Brien opened the Del Mar Race Track. His “fun golf tournaments”, which included Hollywood celebrities matched with owners, jockies, and trainers from the area, drew great crowds to the Ranch. Rancho Santa Fe became a popular destination.

Rancho Sante Fe was chosen to host the equestrian events during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

The public library in Rancho Santa Fe is a branch of the San Diego County Library system,[11] and is open to all California residents. The Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild owns the building and land that house the Rancho Santa Fe Library, as well as providing the staff for the children’s room.

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