Leo Carrillo was an actor (on Broadway and TV), a political cartoonist, and a conservationist. While he was playing the lead role on a television series, Cisco Kid, in the 1950s, he created the ranch of his childhood dreams, spending weekends and free time in Carlsbad, CA. In 1937, Leo purchased an abandoned ranch with a deteriorating adobe and a well. He added more rustic adobes and structures to the plot of land, creating a 1,750 acre working ranch that other Hollywood stars wanted to come to visit. (The now shallow pool used to have a diving board and be 10 feet deep! I would want to visit too.)
In the 1980s, over twenty years after his death in 1961, the land was going to be turned into a community park but some volunteers got involved and started a non-profit, Friends of Carrillo Ranch, that developed a plan for the city of Carlsbad. This ended up saving what is now Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park. Only 27 acres of the ranch have not been bulldozed for tract housing, but at least history has been preserved. The park is free to visit. From adobes to native plants to peacocks, there is plenty to see. Currently there is a Día de los Muertos altar featuring Leo Carrillo, and a bunch of pretty decorations.
I love it here. There is something magical about this spot, like a time machine into the past, a time when hardly anyone had ever heard of Carlsbad, CA.
4 thoughts on “Leo Carrillo Ranch”
Oh my gosh, these photos are exceptional. That gif with A1 and the peacock made me laugh out loud. I love the cacti in bloom, too. I can’t wait to go back in the spring when all is in bloom and there are peachicks! What fun.
Great history, spectacular images, great introduction to an amazing place. Thank you so much for telling us about it. We loved it, too.
Peachicks?? Yes please. You know who would love to harass those babies! (Yes, there are signs that say not to.)
The funny thing about the gif is it was taken after she chased it. So she knew it was there. But then looked away and forgot about it!
Wonderful array of photos!! Used to go to Leo Carrillo Beach as a young child, but lost track through the years as to where it was…Looks so beautiful and historic!! Again, thank you for sharing and reminding us what an amazing place it is!!
It is so beautiful and historic! You would love it! We should go when life gets back to normal. I know Phil wants to go too!!