Link to National Park Service website
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service

[graphic text] Rancho De Los Kiotes

Main wing of the Rancho de los Kiotes, home of Leo Carrillo

Photo courtesy of Carrillo Ranch Archives, Carlsbad, CA

The Rancho de los Kiotes (Leo Carrillo Ranch) was owned by film actor and California State Parks Commissioner Leo Carrillo (1880-1961). Born in Los Angeles, Leo came from a prominent Californian family, being the grandson of the Mexican Governor of California in 1837, and son of the first Mayor of Santa Monica. His childhood was largely spent in San Diego, and as a young man Leo worked on a railroad construction gang between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo while financing his studies at St. Vincent’s College (forerunner of Loyola Marymount University). After graduation he worked as a cartoonist and journalist for the San Francisco Examiner, where he became acquainted with newspaper owner William Randolph Hearst. During this period, a talent scout recognized Leo Carrillo’s ability to entertain and his acting career began. Between 1913 and 1950, he appeared in 15 plays (many of them on Broadway) and 98 movies as well as hundreds of vaudeville shows. At the robust age of 70, Leo Carrillo co-starred as “Pancho” with Duncan Renaldo as the “Cisco Kid.” Together they filmed 156 episodes of the highly successful television series. Through comedy, Leo Carrillo and Duncan Renaldo brought dignity and the pursuit of high ideals to the Latin image in the first non-violent western TV series--the targets were never other human beings but the shortcomings of humanity.

[photo] Leo Carrillo
Photo courtesy of Carrillo Ranch Archives, Carlsbad, CA

In 1942 Carrillo was considered as a possible candidate for Governor of California, but he persuaded his good friend Earl Warren to run, and both men stumped the state and brought Earl Warren, later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Justice (1969-1986), to the Governor’s office. In 1943, Warren appointed Carrillo to the California Beaches and Parks Commission; a position he held for 17 years. During his time on the Commission he helped acquire the Olvera Street adobe and establish the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It was through his personal effort that Hearst Castle at San Simeon was brought into the State Park Inventory. He was a founding member of the Los Angeles Arboretum as well as the Rancheros Visitadores, an elite Santa Barbara riding club. In March 1959, a stretch of beach near Malibu was named in his honor. Carrillo gave generously of his time and money to charitable causes, including Little League baseball, handicapped children’s organizations and the restoration of the California Missions in 1941. From 1942-1945, Leo and his wife and daughter were actively involved in the Red Cross (his wife and daughter were ambulance drivers). His love of children was expressed in his biography, where he wrote that when children recognized him he was happy, stating “A man can ask no greater reward than to be loved by children.”

Rotating photos showing various buildings at the ranch: a Pueblo-style adobe house used by Leo's wife Deedie, a stone arch looking west from the courtyard of the hacienda, the stable complex (bunkhouse, office, and horse stables), and view of the back of the hacienda from the pool, showing the historic stone masonry barbeque.
Photos courtesy of Carrillo Ranch Archives, Carlsbad, CA

Financial success as an actor provided Carrillo with the means to realize his life-long dream to create a home for himself in the tradition of his Spanish-Mexican Californian ancestors. Rancho De Los Kiotes represents his proud Hispanic heritage and serves as his legacy for all future generations that they might share in his love of California and its gracious Spanish past. He purchased the Matthew Kelly property and built it into his dream ranch 1937 to 1940. Laid out and built in a hacienda style as a working ranch, it consists of 11 buildings and six structures of adobe, wood frame, galvanized metal, and rock. The main hacienda consists of three separate adobe buildings connected under a single clay roof and attached by two arched breezeways. They are roughly shaped in a “U” with the largest structure serving as the living area, the smallest was called the “Horseman’s Room” and the other functioned as family quarters. The walls of the ranch are thick sun-baked adobe, boasting arched doorways while corner beehive-shaped fireplaces are located at each end of the living room. Of the original 2,538 acres, one thousand acres were sold to developers in 1960. In 1976, Carrillo’s daughter, Antoinette, sold the remaining acres and 10 ½ acres containing the historic buildings were deeded to the City of Carlsbad for park purposes. A required transfer of 16.4 acres from contiguous residential developers expanded the park to 27 acres, and today the Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park stands as an educational resource and tourist destination. Their website includes many interesting historic photographs.

Edificios En San Juan | Rancho De Los Kiotes | San Antonio Missions
Hispanic Heritage Home | NR HOME

Comments or Questions
Privacy & Disclaimer
Site optimized for V4.0
& above browsers

NPS Links to the Past