One of the original California Rancheros, this 1847 ranch house was built by Raymundo Olivas as the center of Rancho San Miguel. It was later bought and preserved by Max Fleishmann of Fleishmann yeast fame.
The Olivas Adobe is primarily what remains of a Mexican land grant given to Jose Raymundo Olivas in in 1842. He and his friend, Felipe Lorenzana, received 4,340 acres of coastal land that previously belonged to San Buenaventura Mission. Olivas took the coastal half that extended from the Santa Clara River in the south to San Jon Creek a few miles to the north. Don Raymundo, as he was now called, achieved his first financial coup by selling cattle to miners in the gold country in 1850. The cattle, paid for in gold by the miners, became his financial nest egg for futures endeavors. His wealth grew and so did the family status.
His wife, Dona Teodora, had twenty-one children, who were part of Rancho San Miguel's successful operation. Their success is represented by the case grande (large house), which did not typify the the average Mexican dwelling (visit Ortega Adobe). The two story adobe is large even by today's standards. To further demonstrate the family wealth, within the courtyard wall another casa adobe (natural material home) was built.
The Olivas Adobe is maintained by the City of San Buenaventura and a docent group called the Olivas Adobe Historical Interpreters. The docent group have completely furnished the adobe and will be involved in the development of the the small adobe, which will be funded from a Californial state grant and matching funds from the city.
The Olivas Adobe Historical Park is open to the public on weekends for docent tours from 10 to 4pm. The small fee that is charged is used for the upkeep of the site. There is also an exhibit hall and gift shop. A superb movie depicting the California Rancho Period is free to the public and is shown in the exhibit hall.
This is also an amazing horticultural site that has wonders such as, the oldest living fuchsia plants in the world (1898), an historical herb garden, a rose garden maintained by the Master Gardeners group, and numerous flowering specimens that were planted in the 1920's. This is a site that should not be missed.
This is an old residence that's been restored for your pleasure. Now, the lowdown is that the mission is haunted. Whether you believe in ghosts is up to you, but it does give the mission that little extra something.
We were able to watch a 10 minute video, about the history of Spanish missions in California, and some of the people who settled the Golden State. I find that kind of thing very interesting...though please don't quiz me about the tape ;-)
Stop by this old Spanish mission for a little helping of history.
If you like haunted places then The Olivas Adobe is a must see when in the Ventura area, especially around Halloween when the Adobe offers ghost tours. The adobe has been listed in the National Directory of Haunted Places
4500 acres of land which were divided, were awarded to Don Raymundo Olivas and Felipe Loranzana in 1842 for services rendered as soldiers in the Mexican Army. Don Raymundo Olivas and his wife, Dona Teodora took the acreage closest to the ocean and completed the main house in 1851.
They were able to build a commercially successful working ranch which has shaped Ventura County for what it is today.
On a sad note, Dona Teodora was brutally murdered by a band a marauding thieves. Her spirit is said to wander about the balcony, living room and kitchen. Especially the kitchen! We took the ghost tour and when we walked from the kitchen through a small pantry to the outside it was almost like an icy hand was holding you back from exiting. Very scary! For one brief moment I thought I wasn't going to be able to get out of that room.
So if you like history or if you just like a great haunted house don't miss the Olivas Park Adobe.