Ghost hunters, historians and tourists enjoying the beauty of the area will love Olivas Adobe Historical Park. It houses Ventura County’s only standing Monterey-style adobe from the Rancho period, and it is well-worth the low price of admission.
The Olivas Adobe (located 4200 Olivas Park Drive, Ventura, CA) is a two-story Monterey style adobe designed as the center of Rancho San Miguel by Don Raymundo Olivas in 1847 after he and a friend received a land grant. Olivas, one of the most successful cattle and sheep ranchers of the time, enjoyed this home with his family, including 21 children. During his time there, the property was opened for fiestas that would last for days, and it became well-known for being one of the most impressive ranches of the period.
The original home and adjacent properties were built from 1847 to 1849, but in the 1920s the property was restored and remodeled by Max Fleischmann. The fuchsias and grapevine in the front of the property were originally planted in 1899 and the 1860s, respectively, and continue to delight visitors. Fleischmann’s amendments include the restoration of the main home, as well as the distinctive bell archway near the back of the property.
To add to the mystery of the place, there are rumors that the Adobe grounds are haunted, possibly as a result of a vicious robbery that took place there in 1855. Sightings range from claims of seeing Senora Olivas pacing along the porch in the back of the house, to seeing a bearded male face peering from one of the high windows—possibly the image of the eldest son who was injured in the robbery.
The Olivas Adobe Historical Park is open daily until 4:00pm, but the house and gift shop are only accessible on weekends. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.