Note; Google has posted in error, this Museum as permanently closed. I’ve sent in an error report to Google. Hopefully this will be corrected soon!
The Warner Carrillo house has literally dozens of books about the history surrounding this area, when the house was built, who has lived in the house and what history took place during this time. You’ll be hooked after the first book.
The most compelling story is the life of Doña Vicenta, her two husbands and six children which included three daughters and three sons and the eighteen room adobe house, on the Rancho La Sierra near Santa Ana. Doña Vicenta Sepúlveda de Yorba de Carrillo received title to four square leagues of land in the Valle de San José in 1858, after she had built the adobe residence in 1857 that still stands, and lived at this locale with her family through 1869.
The 1860 census records for San Diego County listed the Carrillos in residence in the valley. Individuals who resided at the Ranch House in Agua Caliente Township included: Ramón Carrillo, aged 40, Vicinta, his wife, aged 42, Ramón, aged 11, Maria Y, aged 10, Encarnacion, aged 9, Florimedo, aged 8, Alfreda, aged 7, Felicidad, aged 3, Mathalia, aged 2, Forbo, aged 3 months, and José Antonio Yorba, aged 21.
My favorite story of Don José Ramón Carrillo, told by,William Heath Davis in Seventy-five Years in California is about one of his encounters with a bear. I doubt the bear or Don Carrillo ever forgot the encounter.
On another occasion he was riding along through the woods, when, seeing a bear a little distance away, he went after him on his horse, prepared to throw his reata and lasso him. That part of the country was overgrown with chamize, so that the ground was a good deal hidden. The chase had hardly commenced when the bear plunged suddenly into a ditch, perhaps five or six feet deep. Before Carrillo could check his horse, the animal and himself plunged headlong into it also. He immediately disentangled himself from his horse, and while doing so, the bear showed signs of retreating. Under circumstances of the kind a bear is apt to lose all his courage and is not inclined to fight, and in this instance the suddenness of the shock seemed to have knocked all the savageness out of him. Don José Ramón instantly took in the situation; and saw that in such close quarters with the animal, with no room to move about to use his reata or otherwise defend himself, his situation would be a dangerous one should the courage of the bear revive; and that his safety was in allowing him to get away. The bear commenced to climb up the steep sides of the pit, where it was very difficult to get any kind of a hold, and Carrillo, with wonderful presence of mind, placed his strong arms under the brute’s hindquarters, and exerting all his strength, gave him a good lift. The bear having the good sense to rightly appreciate this friendly assistance, struggled forward, got out, and scampered away, leaving the horse and his master to climb out as best they could.
When you go visit, take the tour led by the former park forest ranger, buy him lunch, get him to talk more, he’s like your history teacher in high school (well mine anyway) times ten. His knowledge knows no bounds and he tells the history in such a way you really want to hear more. What I like about the presentation is he finds a way to include everyone listening and makes you feel like your really involved. Great tour, wonderful host!
The main house has been fully restored, however the adjoining barn, horse corral needs more help to become an image of it’s former self. In other words, if you’ve got the extra cash, donate, donate, donate! Can’t think of a more worthy cause than to restore a piece of our history.