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Rancho Dos Pueblos
A Brief History of The Royal Rancho

Please note: Most of this information was lifted from Walter A. Tompkins' excellent book Santa Barbara's Royal Rancho, published in 1987 by Dos Pueblos Publications.

It is a little hard to believe, but only 50 years after Christopher Columbus and his brave crew landed on what they called "San Salvador" and in effect discovered the Americas for Spain, two ships sailed up the western coast of North America and dropped anchor at a place they called "Dos Pueblos." The date was Monday, October 16th, 1542. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was in command of the two ships, one of which was also surprisingly named "San Salvador."

It was a mild October evening when the ships came to anchor off the mouth of a canyon dividing lush table lands atop seventy foot bluffs that rose abruptly from the sandy beaches below.

Two Native American villages Mikiw and Kuyamu, with their dome shaped thatch huts were prominent on the bluffs opposing each other across the tree lined canyon. Natives paddled out to the ships in fishing canoes, but were not allowed to board. The crew did not go ashore either, and left with no fanfare the following morning after they had recorded for posterity a name for this verdant, serene landscape on the California coastline - Dos Pueblos.

Two and a quarter centuries later this extraordinary land of rolling hills and grassy mesas became a part of the Santa Barbara Mission lands, where it remained until the secularization of 1831.

In 1842, a naturalized Mexican citizen of Irish birth by the name of Nicholas Den was awarded a Mexican grant of the fifteen thousand acre Rancho Dos Pueblos. So began an exciting history, replete with local uprisings, war, bandits and vigilantes.

Under the shrewd tenure of Nicholas Den, Dos Pueblos survived the turmoil boiling around her in the mid 1880's. Good markets and cattle numbering into the thousands brought great prosperity to the ranch. The success of the enterprise enabled Don Nicholas, as he was now called, to host many an early California dignitary in his Casa Grande Adobe with his wife Antonia. Cold drinks, served with ice imported from Alaska, was a high point in their hospitality.

Since the passing of the California Dons into the shadows of history, this land that charmed Gaspar de Portola in 1769, and later John Charles Fremont in 1846 has known five owners...

Financier John H. Williams first fell in love with the beauty of Dos Pueblos from the deck of a passing steamer in 1887. Oil baron Herbert G. Wylie had a determination to make Dos Pueblos his retirement estate, and bought out the Williams' interests in 1917.

Under Wylie's ownership, the ranch was transformed into a showplace of considerable elegance. Buildings and corrals of his successful thoroughbred racing stable still stand down by the lower canyon road, but the Rolls Royce he converted into a manure spreader has not been seen for some time.

Samuel Mosher of the Signal Oil and Gas Company purchased the ranch from Wylie in 1943. Mr. Mosher was a visionary, and transformed the ranch once again into a world class showplace. He had a passion for flowers and developed a portion of the ranch into the world's largest orchid farm (the abandoned offices and greenhouses on an adjacent 50 acre parcel are under seperate ownership but available for purchase as well). Until his death in 1970 at age 68, Sam Mosher was a meticulous steward of Dos Pueblos. The ranch was maintained with utmost care and many lavish dinners and special events were held on the property. Captains of industry, Hollywood celebrities, and political heavyweights were frequent guests.

In 1977 Signal Oil put the ranch up for sale, and a German immigrant who made his fortune in medical equipment and engineering purchased it. Rudolf "Rudi" Schulte came to the United States as a master watchmaker and quickly parlayed his talents into creating precision medical instruments. Possessing a keen business sense, Mr. Schulte at one time owned four significant coastal ranches including the coveted Dos Pueblos Ranch.

After Mr. Schulte purchased the ranch, it became a family compound and retreat. He removed the older and mostly unprofitable lemon groves and replaced them with avocados, cherimoyas and macadamia trees.

After Rudi Shulte's death, his heirs decided that the best possible legacy that they could give to Dos Pueblos was to offer it for sale to a new steward, who can take it to the next chapter in the history of this magnificent piece of California.

To see information about the entire Rancho Dos Pueblos offering, click here.

To see information about the 2,000 acre Northern Offering, click here.


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