The Warner-Carrillo Ranch House is a California and National Historic Landmark, and is located right along our route home from Anza Borrego Desert. This is our first time stopping because it always looks closed and/or they are currently only open on the weekend. Although the ranch house ended its use as a party place for locals it dates back to 1844, when the Juan Jose Warner built on the 44,000 acres of land he was granted by the governor. This place was the first well supplied trading post reached by emigrants traveling through the desert over the Santa Fe Trail to prospects of gold in California. It was where Army soldier’s rested before heading into the Battle of San Pascual. It was a stop along the Gila River Trail and a weigh station for Butterfield’s Overland Mail Company stagecoach line. Before retiring, it even served as a rural school house. The well worn floors (including the brandings in front of the fireplace) and the adobe walls are original, but the furnishings are era-based, and collected through donations. The adobe brick barn behind the ranch house, where calves and babies were born, is authentic as well. Although the ranch house and barn is managed by the Save Our Heritage Organization, there is a ranch family living on the property managing the land and cattle.
What an amazing San Diego county treasure that we have driven past countless times. San Diego County has so much to offer it is impossible to see it all but, like stagecoach passengers in the 1800s leaving everything they had for prospects for a better life, we can try.