Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rancho San Carlos

The 20,000 acres that comprise the Santa Lucia Preserve were originally part of two Mexican Land Grants.

The first, El Potrero de San Carlos (Pastures of Saint Charles), was given by Governor Juan Alvarado in 1837 to Fructuoso del Real, a Mission Indian. He cultivated a portion of the land and kept about seventy horses and five or six hundred head of cattle, along with some sheep and a few milk cows. About 1838, Fructuoso built an adobe house where he lived with his wife, Ignacia and three daughters.

The other grant, San Francisquito (little St. Francis), was made to Dona Catalina Manzanellide Munras, wife of Esteban Munras, in 1835. Munras arrived in Monterey in 1830, served as alcalde in 1837.

Rancheros Potrero de San Carlos and San Francisquito went to Bradley Sargent in 1876. He called the ranch San Francisquito y San Carlos.

In 1924, George Gordon Moore purchased the ranch, which he called Rancho San Carlos, from the heirs of Bradley Sargent.

In 1990, after a half-century of ownership, the Oppenheimer family sold Rancho San Carlos and the Santa Lucia Preserve was created.

These 31 square miles of oak woodlands, savannas, grasslands, wetlands, redwood forests and stands of Monterey pine rise from 100 to 3,000 feet above sea level. They hold 54 distinct habitats virtually hidden from outside view by the surrounding ridges of the Santa Lucia Range, which plunges into the sea at Big Sur.

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