It was early 1971 when James Aurness, the famous western actor best known for his role as Marshall Dillon in the T.V. series Gunsmoke, bought Parcel 19 and began building. The homestead that exists today was custom built for “Jim”, his son Rolf, and their employee Chester. The “A” frames homes custom built for Jim and Rolf have extra high counter tops in the kitchens and bathrooms to accommodate extra tall men. The pecky cedar paneling, 20 ft. ceilings and massive 16” x 22” ridge beams are examples of quality construction materials not commonly used today.
Jim had his choice of just about any parcel on the Ranch, but when he rode up Barranca Honda, I guess the combination of blue button sage, mustard covered hills, oak lined creeks, and the jutting “Vacqueros” sandstone formation must have silently convinced him that this would be home. Also, the fact that Parcel 19 has probably the best quality and most plentiful water supply on the Ranch, must have been a contributing factor to his decision to buy and build here.
In Spring of 1971, when Aurness began the project, fencing, water, electric, and an extensive series of concrete drainage canals and bridges were installed. Not wasting any time, he also planted Eucalyptus windbreaks and visual screens (from seedlings) along Segundo and Barranca Honda as well as a family orchard that he knew would need years to mature. The “A” frames for father and son were built separated by Baranca Honda creek, giving Jim and Rolf space, but were connected by a wooden foot bridge. Bob Stephens was the local contractor, from Santa Ynez, who did the project, simultaneously with the San Augustine Ranch on Parcel 31 which was then owned by a widow, Mrs. Penny Brady who, with her daughter Jennifer, bred and trained “cutting horses” on the San Augustine.
Stephans did a fantastic job on both projects evidenced by the fact that both properties are in excellent condition 35 years later!
Nothing has really changed since 1971 except the date, and the fruit orchard. The infant orchard planted over 35 years ago, is now mature and produces lemons, limes, apples, apricots, plums, Valencia, navel and blood oranges along with grapefruit, pomegranates, tangelos, tangerines and avocados.
We sincerely hope that you will enjoy your stay in our home…
Welcome to Parcel 19, Hollister Ranch