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The Sikes Adobe Farm House

The Sikes Adobe Farm House

"Zenas Sikes (a descendant of Richard and Phebe Sikes of Springfield, MA) and his family were among the earliest American ranchers and farmers who settled in California following statehood.  Their history tells a compelling story of the pioneer experience in San Diego and the American West.  Zenas Sikes and Eliza Burrell came west separately during the Gold Rush, marrying in 1853 and settling in Santa Clara.  Following the Civil War they moved, this time with six children, when Zenas bought a 2,500-acre parcel of the former Rancho San Bernardo in 1868.  The Sikes family turned the surrounding fallow land into productive farmlands, critical to the infant city of San Diego, and then, at the end of the century, into a dairy ranch.  As the family's fortunes improved, the rustic adobe was expanded into a seven-room Victorian home."

 "Built about 1870, the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead has been deemed significant as featuring one of the oldest structures in San Diego County, and one of the few remaining adobes in the region.  The Farmstead represents a legacy of Old California and our ranching and farming history.  Restoration of the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead began in April, 2003.  The site will be transformed into a living museum, with full restoration of the house and its interior furnishings.  The historic gardens, the Adobe creamery, the windmill, the corral and the wheat fields that once flourished on the property will also be re-established."

Thus was the description of this Farmstead in a pamphlet prepared by the San Diego Historical Society and/or the San Dieguito River Park.

A Grand Opening Celebration of the Sikes Adobe Historic Farm House, a City of San Diego Historical Landmark, was held on Saturday, January 31, 2004.  The property is located on Sunset Drive, Escondido and is owned by the City of San Diego.  It is being restored (through a state grant) and will be maintained by the San Dieguito River Park.  The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America is furnishing the interior of the farmhouse.

Disaster and Tragedy

On October 23, 2007 the rampaging wild fires in Southern California, specifically the Witch Creek fire, destroyed all but the original walls of the restored adobe farmhouse.  The loss was difficult to bear for those involved in the resoration project and the hundreds of hours of volunteer labor that were smoldering in the ashes.  The San Diego Union Tribune published the story of  heartbreak over the loss of an important piece of our history.  The article contains pictures following the restoration, a map of the location of the property, and pictures of the devastation.  The North County Times - Escondido, CA, published another compelling story and some different photographs.

Looking Forward

The San Dieguito River Park
announced on January 23, 2008 their plans to rebuild the Sikes Adobe. 

A book of Zenas Sikes's genealogy was produced by Ron Hall for the original project.  He worked closely with Association Genealogist, Art Sikes, as he was preparaing the book.   On January 28, 2008, Mr. Hall wrote:   "
As you know we lost the Sikes Adobe, Ranger Station and the Park office in the terrible fire we had in October.  It goes without saying that most of our files were destroyed which included the two copies of your book "RICHARD SIKES and His Descendants the First Seven Generations" published in 2000.  I would like to order another copy...   Please let me know the price including shipping and I will send you a check.
How are you doing on the "Next Generation."  If finished, I would also like to purchase a copy.
The River Park has hired a Museum Manager for the Sikes Adobe and her name is Anne Cooper.  She will be responsible for the rebuilding of the Sikes Adobe and comes with fine credentials and already has the adobe walls shored up!
I hope you are doing OK and maybe you can come out again when we have our grand opening for the second time!
Thanks for your good help."
A copy of the book, "Richard Sikes and His Descendants, the First Seven Generations", was donated to replace those lost in the fire.


On Saturday, June 26, 2010, a Rededication Ceremony for the historic Sikes Adobe Farmhouse was held on the property at 12655 Sunset Drive in Escondido, near the Westfield North County mall. 

The complete story of the restoration, burning, and rebuilding of the Zenas Sikes family home is now on Facebook.   Various individuals and historical societies provided photos of the original property and the San Dieguito River Park authorities have documented the restoration processes.  Check it out here.

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