Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

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Carlsbad, CA
United States
Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

Initially named Rancho De Los Kiotes after the native Yucca slopes, the ranch was built as a retreat for actor Leo Carrillo, who purchased the original 1,700 acres in 1937, adding another 838 acres two years later. Located on an old Spanish land grand, the 2,358 acres and surrounding area were once home to the Luiseño people. The main living quarters, two wooden windmills, a chicken house, a storage shed, a barn, and a cattle chute are arranged in an organic layout amid sporadic olive, willow, and agave plantings and sparse lawns. Carrillo intended the ranch to pay homage to the Spanish California landscape and his Mexican-American heritage. The main U-shaped hacienda is built around a flagstone courtyard, which opens onto an ornamental garden housing a fish pond, swimming pool, cabana, a painted totem pole, and a small pueblo-style dwelling. Situated in a canyon and surrounded by dense chaparral, the ranch features palms, weeping pepper trees, citrus, eucalyptus, and many varieties of cacti and succulents. A dense wood stretches out from the west of the property, while in the middle ground a dirt track loops around a sloped, sparsely planted knoll. The western section of the site comprises arid, wooded wilderness. In 1960 some 1,000 acres were sold to developers for a residential subdivision. The sale of the remaining acreage in 1976 included a deed of 10.5 acres, comprising the historic buildings, to the city of Carlsbad for the purposes of creating a park. Later, a transfer of 16.4 acres from contiguous residential subdivisions expanded the site to its current 27 acres. The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.