Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society Annual Homes Tour (July 27)

Lilian J. Rice, Master Architect

Rancho Santa Fe, California has a rich and storied history dating back to the 1800’s.  The Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society works “o collect, preserve, research and interpret the documents, photos, and artifacts that connect us and Rancho Santa Fe to its past.” The society uses exhibitions, historic sites, archives, special events, educational programs and publications to explore the history of the village.
One of the Historical Society’s most significant ways of promoting the history of Rancho Santa Fe is through tours of historical homes and buildings.  Maps for self-guided walking tours can be downloaded from the Society’s website HERE or at the office during regular business hours.  The Historical Society also offers guided group tours available by appointment.  Just call 858.756.9291 or contact the office on-line to schedule your group tour.  Check Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society for upcoming special events and information on the Annual Homes Tour.
Many of the buildings on the tours were designed by an architectural trail-blazer.  Lillian J. Rice received her architecture degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1910, one of the first women ever to do so.  Her design style was largely influenced by her appreciation for the indigenous earthen architecture of her region, her travels to Spain and other Latin based cultures, and exposure to master architect John Galen Howard at UC Berkeley. Her understated architectural nuances  created composite scenes of serenity and quiet beauty in Rancho Santa Fe.

  • RSF Santa Fe Land Improvement Company Offices — 16915 Avenida de Acacias
  • Lilian Jennette House (Senior Center) –16780 La Gracia
  • La Flecha House  – 6036 La Flecha
  • Charles Shaffer House  – 5610 La Crescenta
  • Claude & Florence Terwilliger  – 5880 San Elijo
  • Pearl Baker, Row House  – 6122 Paseo Delicias
  • Edith McGrew Row House  – 6122 Paseo Delicias
  • Reginald & Constance Clotfelter Row House  – 6122 Paseo Delicias
  • Samuel Bingham House  – 6427 La Valle Plateada
  • Norman & Florence Carmichael  – 6855 La Valle Plateada
  • George A. Christiancy House  – 17078 El Mirador

Some prominent highlights on the tour include the:
La Flecha House – Lilian Rice’s first Rancho Santa Fe residence  designed in 1923.  This Spanish Colonial Revival architecture style became the primary design style for the whole community. It was one of the first all-electric homes in San Diego County was the first library. Gifted to the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society by the Reitz family in 1988, the La Flecha house also underwent a restoration that features a section of original interior adobe wall preserved behind glass.
Other Lillian Rice designs are:
Original Santa Fe Land Improvement Company Office – Designed in 1923 with architectural details that create a distinctive and varied harmony, this local historic landmark has retained almost all its historical integrity and remains the cornerstone of the commercial block.
The Inn – Originally called “La Morada”, this building set the style of the community during the early days of Rancho Santa Fe. Designed in 1923, it continues in private hands to the present, continuing the appreciation of its historic traditions and significance for the village.
Original Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club – In 1937, Lilian broke from her usual architectural style with this board and batten building.
First Rancho Santa Fe School & The Second Site of the Rancho Santa Fe School

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