The Coast News Group
Osuna Ranch, which dates from the 1830s, joins the historic registry administered by the National Park Service. Courtesy photo
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Osuna Ranch joins National Register of Historic Places

RANCHO SANTA FE — It’s official. The Protective Covenant area of Rancho Santa Fe received word that the Osuna Ranch obtained its National Register of Historic Places designation — a title administered by the National Park Service branch of the Department of the Interior. This designation adds the Osuna Adobe to a national registry along with other sites that had an essential role in American history be it architectural, historical or cultural.

The Osuna Adobe was constructed in the early 1830s.

Rancho Santa Fe Association horticulturist Caitlin Kreutz said a national historic designation is different than being designated a California landmark. It requires proof of meeting different requirements about periods of historical significance and how it relates to the entire state. 

According to Kreutz, the Association worked on getting a designation for several years. Kreutz came into the project in the final year.

“I had to provide a bunch of photos and I worked with the Historical Society to collect a wealth of historical documentation and just the history of the Osuna,” Kreutz said. “I had to put it all together, do the government forms and go through the submittal process, which is incredibly lengthy. We also worked with several state historians to get them the information that they needed. I focused on several periods of significance.”

The first was in 1831 when the Silvas acquired a provisional land grant building the first adobe in the San Dieguito Valley.

In 1836, Juan María Osuna received a provisional land grant totaling 8,842 acres, also referred to as the Rancho San Dieguito. He occupied the existing adobe and site. Osuna’s historical role is significant as he served as the first mayor in San Diego.

“Another really interesting thing was the Californios did gather at the Osuna Ranch before the Battle of San Pasqual (Mexican American War), which is out in San Pasqual Valley,” she said. “It was very, very gruesome battle, but it was very significant in this state.”

After the war, and when California became a state, Kreutz noted the Juan María Osuna Adobe was rehabilitated and considered one of the early projects for what would be known as part of Rancho Santa Fe.

Association Assistant Manager Christy Whalen is quick to point out the great work of both the Osuna Committee and Association staff who were able to make this historical designation happen. 

“The Osuna Committee has been working for several years on this, and it’s really a feather in their cap,” she said.

The Osuna property belongs to the community. Throughout the year, Covenant residents join together for events such as Celebrate Osuna and the Rancho Santa Fe’s Garden Club Farm-to-Table fall dinner.

“The Osuna Ranch is an important part of the history of the Covenant of Rancho Santa Fe. It’s a property that members are proud of, and the designation lends additional credibility to this jewel that we’ve got in our community,” Whalen said. “Everybody can appreciate the history of California and having this in their backyard is really special.”