To collect, preserve, research and interpret the documents, photos and artifacts that connect us to Rancho Santa Fe and its past. The opportunity to learn more about the history of this special village is offered through exhibitions, historic sites, the archives, special events, educational programs and publications.
25th Year Anniversary – 2010:
Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society celebrated its 25 years of service to our community. We honored and saluted the founding members who had the vision and foresight to start this important organization. The five original founders were Pat Cologne, Eleanor Shefte, Sandy Somerville, Marcia Van Liew and Gwen Whitehead who also served as the first President. “The idea of the need for Rancho Santa Fe to have a Historical Society came to me sometime in the early 1980′s”, said co-founder Whitehead. “At various times I would ask some of my friends who were longtime residents if they had any interest in founding such a group”. On October 30, 1984 the Articles of Incorporation were signed and that was the beginning of a great adventure!”
The RSF Historical Society is housed in La Flecha house, one of master architect Lillian Rice’s first designs. La Flecha House was given Landmark #1 status and a plaque was unveiled celebrating the designation On July 4, 1989. Sandy Somerville was quoted as saying, “We’re very happy to have Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society as site number one”. The house was built in 1923 and now houses artifacts, documents, photographs, and furniture all donated to the Society mostly from the Reitz Family Trust. We provide educational tours and lectures to students of all ages; offer our archives to researchers; and provide expertise and advice on the preservation of historic homes. La Flecha was generously donated to the Society by E.L. Bud Reitz and Margarita Reitz.
Chronology of La Flecha House 1923-to Present *
- 1923: La Flecha House completed by the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company for employees and to serve as a model home.
- 1923-25: Home of Sydney and Ruth Nelson and family. Nelson was accountant and later manager of the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company. First public library established in the house by Ruth Nelson.
- 1926: Home of Ronald Macdonald, first president of the Rancho Santa Fe Association
- 1929-30: Home of William. A. Smart and family; Mr. Smart served on the staff of the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company and later managed the estate of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., now Fairbanks Ranch.
- 1934-37 Home of Robert and Veva Francisco; operators of the first market in the Village. Mr. Francisco drove the only school bus to Escondido for local high school students.
- 1946: Plans for a separate garage on the property approved.
- 1953: Portions of the building used for a third grade classroom.
- 1966: Property purchased by M/M E.L. Reitz.
- 1984-86: Home of the Rancho Santa Fe Review, the community’s only regular newspaper. Extensive remodeling to convert to commercial use, essentially converted into two separate offices with separate front entrances.
- 1988: RSF Village Employment Office.
- 1988: The Reitz family donates the property to the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society.
- 1994: Office space donated to the County Sheriff’s Department for the first law enforcement storefront in Rancho Santa Fe.
- 1995: Restoration of the La Flecha House back to one unit, completed for use as a community center, archive, and general educational resource for Rancho Santa Fe.
* Please note gaps in defining actual occupants for some years. While it was owned by the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company some families lived there while their permanent residences were under construction. In later years during the building’s commercial use, small businesses, some now forgotten, occupied the premises.