Las Cruces

As the story goes, Las Cruces ("The Crosses") got its name in the early 1790s when a group of Franciscans from Mission Santa Inés placed crosses on a cluster of Chumash graves there.

In 1833, Miguel Cordero, a retired soldier from the Presidio of Santa Barbara, built an adobe home at Las Cruces. In 1835 he applied for a land grant, and in 1837 Governor Juan B. Alvarado granted him over 8,000 acres: Rancho Las Cruces. On the Rancho, Cordero had fields of wheat and barley, a vineyard, orchard, and cattle ranch. Cordero died in 1851, and his wife in 1857, after which the property was given to their nine children. From 1857 until 1876, six adobe structures were constructed at Las Cruces; the current Las Cruces Adobe was likely built during this time, probably circa 1860.

The early 1860s proved to be a difficult time at Las Cruces; serious rains caused flooding followed by drought, and an abundance of cattle to the north led to a decrease in value. In 1864, fortunes changed when the primary stage route was altered to pass through Las Cruces, and a stage stop was established. This was compounded in 1875 with the completion of the wharf at Gaviota, when it became a stopping point for farmers transporting their crops from Santa Ynez Valley.

In June 1880, Vicente Cordero sold Rancho Las Cruces to William W. Hollister and the Dibblee Brothers (land barons that built the Gaviota wharf). Under their ownership, the Rancho continued to serve as a stage stop. After the 1901 completion of the railroad, business dwindled and the existing adobe was used as a cafe and bar for a time. With the increase of automobiles on the road, it also served as a gas station.

Around 1930, the adobe was abandoned and its condition began to deteriorate. In 1967, it was purchased by the State of California from the Hollister Company and added to Gaviota State Park. Though plans have been made for its restoration over the years, none have come to fruition and only ruins remain, protected only by a metal roof and a fence. In 1995, it was listed as Santa Barbara County Historic Landmark #36.