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La Casa de Estudillo

La casa de Estudillo

Home to one of the state's most distinguished 19th century families, La Casa de Estudillo was San Diego's social and religious center during the Mexican and early American periods. Built during 1827-1829 by lieutenant José Maria Estudillo this adobe-block townhouse enclosed an inner courtyard. It had twelve rooms, including bedrooms, a servants' quarter, kitchen, work, and storage rooms, a living room and dining room, and Catholic Chapel.

The thick adobe-brick walls were coated with a mud plaster and painted with a lime-based whitewash. On top of the roof was a turreted balcony, accessible by a stairwell, where the Estudillo family watched the bullfights, horse races , and fiestas on the plaza.

The family, as well as varied boarders and servants, continued to live in the house until 1887. After the family's departure, the house fell into ruin and would have possibly disappeared forever were it not for the efforts of investor John D. Spreckels and architect Hazel Waterman in 1906.

Spreckles turned the renovated property into "Ramona's Marriage Place," a tourist attraction based on Helen Hunt Jackson's famous novel Ramona. It operated as "Ramona's Marriage Place" until the 1960s.

Later, in 1968, the casa became part of the California State Park system and was restored as a house museum identified with the Estudillo family. It has been described as the finest example of a large Mexican adobe townhouse in the United States. La Casa de Estudillo is the only individual site in the park listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of five 19th century adobes in the park.

Currently, the house is being redesigned to more accurately and clearly tell the story of the Estudillo family, who built and lived in the house from 1821 until 1887. For more information on the Casa de Estudillo exhibit redesign, click here to go to the project's page. For more information about the history of the Casa de Estudillo, click here.