Check out this great article in Watsonville Patch, “A Colorful History: Bear-Bull Fights, ‘Zip Horses’ and Fandangos.”
About the Castro Adobe
Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe is one of the grandest of all adobe buildings representing the Mexican Rancho Period of California history (1821-1848). Located near the city of Watsonville, this two-story adobe hacienda features a spacious fandango room on the second floor and an original cocina (historic kitchen), one of only five such Mexican kitchens remaining in California. With its long, two-story proportions and full-width open balcony, it is a distinctive example of Monterey-Colonial architecture.
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (Friends) is working hard in partnership with California State Parks to open the Castro Adobe as a State Historic Park. Friends undertook the restoration of the Castro Adobe in order to preserve and interpret for the public the only remaining building of the Rancho era in the Pajaro Valley. The Castro Adobe is one of the finest examples of a rancho hacienda in the Monterey Bay area.
Castro Adobe State Historic Park will serve visitors interested in adobe architecture and preservation, as well as 4th graders studying the Mexican Rancho Period and 3rd graders studying local history. In the cocina, the link between Latino traditions of today and our Californio heritage will be tangible as students experience tortillas, beans and nopales (cactus), which were produced in the Rancho period and are still enjoyed today. The Edna Kimbro Library and Archives – Center for Early California Studies will be opened to serve scholars and other visitors interested in the study of the cultural heritage of early California.
Phase 1: Lasting more than 10 years, Phase 1 of the restoration effort included numerous milestones such as creating a grassroots organizing effort to lobby the State of California to purchase the property; crafting more than 2,500 adobe bricks, weighing 85 pounds each, to repair sections of the building that were damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake; building a steel “rib-cage” inside the walls to support the building during a future earthquake; repairing the roof to be historically accurate; repairing hundreds of feet of cracks in the adobe walls; and painting numerous coats of protective lime wash finish to the exterior of the building. More than 245 individuals, foundations and businesses have supported the project, as well as more than 130 volunteers who have donated thousands of hours of labor.
Phase 2: Restoration of the Castro Adobe is now in Phase 2 and is focused on continued preservation, preparing for public access and beginning a multi-stage opening of the park. Current Phase 2 projects include:
- Preservation of the cocina
- Design and construction work to make the second floor accessible
- Restoration of the garden, originally designed by famed landscape architect Thomas Church
- Acquisition of the neighboring Kimbro property, which will become the visitor center for the park and home of the Edna Kimbro Library and Archives
Truly a labor of love, your support is needed in order to open this important historic property to the public as the Castro Adobe State Historic Park.
Please donate today. For more information, contact 831-429-1840 or Parks@ThatsMyPark.org.