Portions of the Santa Margarita Ranch House (SMRH) Complex & Las Flores Adobe grounds are available for Department of Defense (DoD) affiliated events. General Rules for each property are published annually and provided below.
• Santa Margarita Ranch House General Rules
• Santa Margarita Ranch House Event Map
• Las Flores Adobe General Rules
Reservation requests require a completed a Use Agreement and Release of Liability form for each event and, if approved, are scheduled on a first come, first serve basis. Requests should be submitted at least 60 days in advance. Application & Release of Liability forms are provided below.
• Santa Margarita Ranch House Complex & Las Flores Adobe Application Form
• Use Agreement and Release of Liability Form
Completed forms can be submitted to: M_PNDL_ENV-Ranch-House-Requests@usmc.mil. For questions, please call: 760-725-3360
Tours are available through the History and Museums Branch.
Santa Margarita Ranch House Complex: Property History
The Santa Margarita Ranch House Complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1971 includes the main ranch house (Building 24154), the Bunkhouse (Building 24152), Chapel (Building 24150) and 21 acres of associated grounds (National Register entry No. 710506003). The building are excellent examples of Spanish Colonial/Mexican California architecture constructed largely in the 19th century. The main ranch house served as headquarters of one of the largest ranchos in California until 1942 when the US government acquired approximately 125,000 acres of rancho lands and converted the site to a military base. Known historically as Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores, the site has been an important center of human activity for thousands of years including prehistoric Native American culture, the Spanish mission system, Mexican secularization of mission lands that resulted in the proliferation of rancho culture, and agricultural use by Anglo-Americans. The ranch house essentially acquired its present form while the ranch was under the management of some of the most notable figures in California history, including Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of Alta California, Juan Forster, a prominent rancher and Pico’s brother-in-law, and Richard O’Neill, whose family operated the ranch for nearly sixty years beginning in 1882.
Las Flores Adobe: Property History
The Las Flores Adobe structure was listed as a National Historic Landmark (NR entry No. 68000021) in 1968 and is located within a 50-acre parcel. The adobe was built between 1866 and 1868 by Juan Forster as a wedding present to his son, Marcus. The Las Flores Adobe represents an outstanding example of a 19th century two-story "Monterey style" residence with a double veranda façade, which created a popular building type unique to California during the mid-19th century. It is significant at the National level in the area of architecture with a period of significance from 1868-1888. This property is also eligible at the local level of significance for agriculture with a period of significance from 1888-1941 when it served as the headquarters for a locally important lima bean farm. The USMC in cooperation with the National Park Service and the University of Vermont conducted a major repair and seismic stabilization to rehabilitate the adobe starting in 2002 and completed in 2005. The USMC is conducting ongoing maintenance and repairs in cooperation with the University of Vermont. A lot of work has been completed but there is still much more to do.